Marketing tip #83: You really can’t make the horse drink

You can’t make a customer buy!

Here’s an uncomfortable marketing truth:  With few exceptions, you cannot control potential buyers.

No matter how great your product, how spectacular your price or how unparalleled your customer service reputation — if they aren’t ready to buy, they just are not ready to buy.

Yes, as the old adage says — you can lead them to the water.  But once you get them there, you only have two choices.  Try to force their head into the water or entice them to hang out by the water trough until they’re actually thirsty.

And trust me, if you’ve spent any time around horses or a stubborn prospect, you know that you cannot force their head into the water.  No matter how badly you’d like to!

Sadly, to stay with the analogy — most companies don’t have any carrots or sugar cubes at the ready.   Which means their “horse” wanders away.  And by the time they’re ready to buy — probably has wandered to someone else’s watering trough.

I see so many companies that can get a prospect in the door but if they don’t buy that instant, have no way of staying in touch, creating a relationship or keeping under the prospect’s nose until it’s the right time for them to buy.

Imagine this scenario: Someone who would be the perfect sweet spot customer called today and chatted with you on the phone for 15 minutes but wasn’t ready to buy — what would you do/say to keep them connected to you until they were ready to buy?

Could you hold their interest for a month?  6 months?  3 years?

If you didn’t have an answer or don’t think you could keep them around the water trough for as long as you need — you are letting sales walk out your door.

So…now what?



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