You may have heard of the “buyer’s journey” or “customer journey” before when marketers reference the stages and thought processes that influence each stage as your ideal client goes interacts with your brand—pre and post-sale. You might even think of it as somewhat of a sales funnel.
I like to refer to the buyer’s journey as a trust funnel because, when you’re selling services (rather than commodity products) it isn’t about convincing them to buy your product, it’s about building trust so you don’t have to do any convincing at all!
Once you have your trust funnel in place, you’ll easily be able to take your ideal clients on a journey from not having any idea who you are (aka total stranger) through getting to know you, falling in love with you, hiring you and then telling everybody about you and why you’re amazing and why they should hire you too!
There are six components of this trust-building buyer’s journey, and we’re going to get to them all.
But first, a little note about marketing that is worth mentioning. . .
Today, social media is a heavily relied upon marketing tool. But I want to point out that it is nothing more than a tool. Like a stand mixer in your kitchen is a tool. Do you need a stand mixer to make a cake? No! You can mix your batter with a hand mixer, a wooden spoon. . . hell, you could use your hands if you really had to! If love being on social media, keep at it! But also know that you can choose any marketing channels (aka tools) you want. As long as you follow this journey, it will be easy to attract dream clients and grow a profitable business by working with the tools you love to use. Okay, now back to the article. 😉
How a Trust Funnel Works
Imagine this. . . Your significant other surprises you with a trip. They don’t tell you where you’re going. They just tell you to pack for all weather. You think, “How exciting! This is going to be so much fun!”. So you go with it and, after a day of travel, you find yourself in this adorable beach town. Everything is going wonderfully and you couldn’t be any more excited. . . except they are predicting an unexpected heatwave this week and you didn’t pack for weather quite this hot. You’re going to need to go shopping!
The next morning, at breakfast, you do a quick search for local social media hashtags and even ask the waitress and a few of the locals for recommendations. They all tell you about a little boutique on the main strip called Sophies.
After breakfast, you head down to the main strip where Sophie’s is. As you walk down the street, you find yourself looking into all the window displays. I mean, why go into a store if it doesn’t seem to be your style. A window display gives you all the information you need to decide whether you want to walk over and go inside or not, right?
When you get to Sophies, you check out the window display there, too. Your first impression is good, so you take a step inside the door (basically poking your head in) and pause to look around to see if you spot anything you like. When you see a few things that you’d like a closer look at, you begin to walk around, touching the clothes, holding them up against you, and draping them over your arm.
When you’ve looked at everything and you’re satisfied that you have a couple of decent outfits that you might like to buy, you head to the dressing room to try things on.
If you love the way everything fits, feels, and looks, you then head to the cash register to pay for the clothes you are excited to wear during the rest of your vacation. And, if you’re happy with your experience, you’re probably going to recommend Sophie’s to anyone who compliments your new picks or asks you where to shop nearby, am I right?
The scenario I just took you through is a metaphor for the buyer’s journey. It’s a journey of going from “I don’t know you and don’t trust you yet” to “I love you and can’t wait to tell everyone about you!” it’s the journey you want to take your ideal clients on and that’s what building trust is all about!
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Marketing (what get’s people to your store)
We started at the restaurant, where you began looking for hashtags and asking for recommendations. Hashtags are a result of social media marketing, whereas referrals are a form of word-of-mouth marketing. It doesn’t matter how you get the word out about your business, as long as you do! Marketing (aka awareness) is an essential component to building a successful and profitable business. It’s important that you’re out there in front of people, talking about what you do and how you help people. Because when people know and understand what you do, they can refer you! And the more people that refer you, the better!
Branding (aka your window display)
Do you remember how, in the story, you walked down the street making decisions based on what you saw in the window display? Well, the window display is a metaphor for your branding. People, especially nowadays, are pressed for time. They don’t want to waste time in stores, on websites, or following services providers around on social media if there is no chance they’d ever buy from them! They want to know that this relationship has the potential of going somewhere. Branding helps our brains make that decision in nanoseconds. Just as you are able to make that decision by glancing in a window display, your ideal clients make that same decision when they encounter your social media feed, the home page of your website, or an article you write. They ask themselves, “Is this my style? Do I connect with this person? Do I want to learn more?”
Branding isn’t just about colors and logos. It’s also about connecting to your ideal clients through messaging and creating a brand vibe that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. In my article, The 5 V’s of Branding, I go a lot deeper on all that. 😉
Branding is equivalent to your window display. It’s what helps people decide if they want to get to know you more. If they do, they’re going to do the next logical thing—start clicking around on your website!
Website (aka what’s in your store)
Your website is your virtual store. It’s the place where people go to see what you’re about and learn more about your services. Some people think social media is enough, but I seriously disagree. I mean, have you ever had someone recommend a restaurant, and then, when you Google it, only a Facebook page or Yelp listing comes up? All you want to do is look at the menu and a few pictures of their patio to see if it’s somewhere you’d like to visit. But without a website, finding that information is complicated. I might spend a minute or two clicking links to find what I’m looking for, but if it’s not easily accessible, I give up and choose another place to eat, as I am one of many who do not have Facebook on my phone and if you’ve been assuming everyone does, you could be losing business left and right.
If, however, you have all of the elements of a proper trust funnel in place, once an ideal client encounters your brand and decides they’d like to learn more about you, they are doing to click over to your website and land on your home page, where they’ll do a quick scan to gauge whether or not your services are for them and, if they like what they see, they’ll go deeper into your website—maybe checking out your about page or reading the content on your blog—to get to know you and see if they like what you’re about. This is the equivalent of walking around the store, touching things, holding them up to you, and draping them on your arm to take to the dressing room.
Your Email List (aka The Dressing Room)
I don’t know a single person who LOVES trying clothes on in a store. the only reason we do it is that we think we want to buy an item—we just want to be sure it fits good first.
In this metaphor, the dressing room is your email list. Giving you their email is a level of commitment. They aren’t just going to hand it over for no reason. But if they think they might actually want to work with you in the future, they don’t mind. Sending your prospects emails is the equivalent to taking them new things to try on while they’re in the dressing room. You are bringing value and being helpful while they’re in there. The more value you bring (and the more helpful you are) the more they are likely to buy.
When they do try on something they like (and also want and/or need) the next logical step is to head to the register to purchase it.
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If you’re a productized business, this is equivalent to getting on a sales call (or discovery call) with you or, if you’re selling a productized service, hitting the buy button.
Over-the-Top Service (aka what happens after the sale)
Then, finally, you have the experience that happens after that purchase—making sure that you’re delivering the kind of quality service and value that exceeds their expectations so that they go on and refer you to the people they know!
Buyer’s Journey Recap (aka the secret to consistent cash flow)
When you’ve got all of these elements in place—marketing to get the attention of the people you want to serve; branding that brings the to your website; content on your site that connects builds trust; an email list that continues to nurture; a sales call process that converts them into paying clients and a system for creating the kind of value that leads to referrals— you will have an amazing business that keeps the cash flow coming month after month without you having to do any work because you pretty much did it all upfront while building out the funnel!
If you need help doing that, and you’re ready to make this a reality, let me know I would love to work with you and help you to put all this in place. I offer private coaching, group coaching programs, and VIP days where we can knock out one major element of your trust funnel at a time!
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