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The customer buying journey is what potential clients go through from the moment they discover your accounting firm until they decide to buy your service, and well beyond. Your job is to guide them on this journey so that they end up buying from you (and not running in the opposite direction!). Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, it's not quite so simple. This journey isn't always a linear one and it involves you having to meet them at various touchpoints along the way so that you can build a long-lasting relationship. As you can imagine, in the Covid climate, everyone's journey is a little more chaotic than usual. If you want to win new clients, even in this turbulent time, here is how to use the customer buying journey to do just that.

This article is based upon a virtual (paid) workshop we did on how to add £2k quickly to your monthly revenue. Click here to download (for free) the whole recording of the workshop.

A quick recap on the customer buying journey 

The customer buying journey stepsBefore we show you how to use the buying journey, we first need to remind you of exactly what that journey is.

As you can see from the image, the customer buying journey is broken down into 5 stages:

Stage 1: the client is fine, they have no issues, and they aren't looking to buy.

Stage 2: the client knows they have some problems but they don't really know the consequences of doing nothing about those problems. The customer at this stage typically knows they should be doing something about it but they are more tempted to bury their head in the sand.

Stage 3: clients at this stage know their issues and they are aware of how bad it could be if they do nothing about them. Many here already have an idea of what they need to do about their problems.

Stage 4: these clients are the ones who are taking action to progress from stage 3. They are trying to figure out how to solve their problems by finding people to help them choose the right solution.

Stage 5: at the end of the journey, the clients here are taking the decision to buy. They have done the research, made a decision, and have found the perfect individual or firm to help them implement the solution.

The aim here is to position your firm as their solution and to be there along the journey to remind them of that. As we mentioned previously, your job is to guide every prospect through this journey to move them ever closer to buying from you. So how do you do that?

Read: 3 simple marketing strategies your accountancy firm can use to attract exactly the right sort of clients in turbulent times

3 ways to use the customer buying journey to win new clients

The buying journey can be broken down into three main stages:

  1. Awareness - this is where a prospect had just heard about you for the first time. Perhaps you've been recommended or they have stumbled upon your site, and they are trying to get to grips with who you are and what you offer.
  2. Evaluation - this is where a prospect is trying to decide whether you are actually a solution to their problem, if you can do what you say, and if you're the right fit for their business.
  3. Purchase - this is where a prospect is on the cusp of buying, but they need more reassurance to make their decision.

Being aware of these three stages is crucial if you want to use the buying journey to win new clients. Why? Because when you know that prospects in each stage have a different mindset (and what that mindset is), only then can you create content and marketing messages that speak to their current outlook.

To appeal to clients at each stage of the journey, here are 3 things that you must do:

a hitchhiker to represent using content along the customer buying journey to increase awareness1. Make a solid content strategy to increase awareness

Content is such a powerful tool to have in your toolkit, especially if you want to position yourself as the go-to-expert. What better way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise than through articles and content that directly address your ideal clients' pain points?

To target prospects at every stage of the customer buying journey, you need content on your website that broadcasts your knowledge and expertise, the services that you offer, why you're the best fit for your target audience, and what makes you different from your competitors. Your content marketing then needs to cover the topics that directly interest your potential clients (what are they searching for on Google?).

When creating your content strategy, make sure to review your client personas first. Who are your target audience? What are their motivators and challenges? Why do they need you? Once you've done this, you can then create the right type of content (the content they prefer), at the right time, and with the right messages. For example, do they prefer blogs and checklists or do they prefer short how-to videos and webinars? (If you need some help with your content, download our free content plan template.)

Your content builds trust and credibility with your prospects; it builds relationships and keeps you front of mind with people as they progress through the buying journey. If you plan a solid content marketing strategy, you will be first choice when it comes to them making that all-important buying decision.

Extra resources:

people reading a map to represent how clients evaluate you on the customer buying journey2. Help them evaluate you by evaluating them

Risk and fear are the biggest barriers to progressing through the customer buying journey, that's why the evaluation stage is so important. Potential clients want to be sure that you are the right fit for them and for their business, so you will need to show them that. You will need to demonstrate that you understand their needs, that you can help them succeed, and that you will work how they want.

One of the best ways to do this is to use case studies and client testimonials about how you have helped similar business owners overcome the same issues. Whether you use them in your content or in person, these are extremely powerful tools to put your prospect at ease. After all, it's one thing to say that you can do something, it's another thing completely when you have real people who are advocating for you. Real people who are where your prospects want to be because of your service.

Another great way of helping your prospects through this evaluation stage is to evaluate them first. For example, if prospects are wanting to meet with you to discuss their needs, at least 50% of that meeting needs to be you asking them fact-finding questions. Questions such as:

  • What has prompted you to get in touch to talk about your business?
  • How are you feeling at the moment?
  • What are you worried about?
  • What is the worst-case scenario you have in your head? And how likely is this to happen?
  • What’s happened to the demand for your business? And will it come back if it has disappeared?
  • Are your books up-to-date? How much do you owe?
  • How robust are your key clients/customers and suppliers’ businesses right now?

If you ask the right open questions and really listen to their answers, you will find out everything you need to know to pass the evaluation stage from their point of view. You should find out all about them and their business, their specific problems that you can fix, and exactly what motivated them to do something about these problems.

Once you have this knowledge, you can then spend the rest of the meeting exploring solutions (positioning your firm as the biggest solution) and highlighting where your firm can bring them the most value. By getting to know exactly what they want out of you and your firm, you can tailor your offer to their specific needs. What this does is it helps them progress into the purchasing stage and to hopefully make your firm their buying decision.

Read: 3 simple marketing strategies your accountancy firm can use to attract exactly the right sort of clients in turbulent times

a man holding his arms up in the air to symbolise the end of the customer buying journey

3. Help them make their purchasing decision by positioning your firm as the best solution

Prospects at this stage are extremely warm leads as they are ready to press go on their buying decision, they just need some more reassurance first. This is where you really need to show them that you care about providing a valuable service so make your offering as personalised to them as possible.

Using all the essential information that you collected on them in the evaluation stage, maybe you can offer some sort of taster session here? A Zoom or face-to-face consultation, a live demo or a bespoke training proposal...think about how you can help them imagine what it would be like to work with you. This is half the battle when it comes to converting a prospect, so if you can do this whilst simultaneously showing them that you can solve their specific issues, you can guide them to the end of the customer buying journey into your firm.

Read: 7 things your accountancy firm needs to be doing with its marketing right now to ensure it survives the Coronavirus Crisis

Win new clients (even in this turbulent time)

Understanding the customer buying journey is key to winning new clients because you really delve deep into their business and what they need from you right now. With the current Covid crisis, there has never been a more important time to show prospects that you care about their needs and that you want to help solve them, so start using it. Start making sure that your content appeals to prospects at all stages of the journey and concentrate on finding out their needs and wants and challenges. Once you know this, you can create a completely personalised (and irresistible) offering.

If you need some help with your content, don't forget to download our free content plan template.

Learn how to quickly add an extra £2k of monthly recurring income to your practice (even if you are a reluctant business developer)

Download (for free) the workshop recording of 'How to quickly add £2k of monthly recurring revenue to your practice' and you will discover:

  • How to generate more income from your existing clients without putting in place a price rise
  • How to get your clients to pay for more services without seen to be profiteering or ambulance chasing
  • What marketing your firm can do right now which is going to cause new good clients to flock to your firm