Good salespeople don’t want their customers to fall down. In fact, the core of every great pitch is arguably about supporting customers with products and services that not only help them keep standing, but grow even larger. That may make the notion of “tripwire” sales and marketing sound a little mean-spirited, but it’s not.
The tripwire in this case is something small but meaningful that gets a prospect to convert, at least to some degree, to a real customer. Sometimes these are discounts on products or services. In other cases there are true “loss leaders” that don’t bring in direct revenue but lead to revenue-generating opportunities at a later date. Although this is in some respects a tried-and-true technique, Canadian small and medium-sized businesses may hesitate to try it for fears it proves unprofitable, time-consuming or difficult to execute. The good news is, it’s not.
Find The Tripwire You Already Have
Most SMBs sell far more than one product or service, and even within individual products and services there are pieces that could be offered for free or at a low cost as a tripwire. The best way to do this is to look at the portfolio of goods you offer a customer – where the total price point might be off-putting, for example – and using one feature or item as a way to get them hooked.
Align The Tripwire With The Purchase Cycle
Most B2B customers move through a fairly standard process where they become aware of a potential solution to one of their business challenges, followed by a period where they research the available offerings, consider each one and then make a decision. It’s not only important to have a tripwire but to think about when and where you want to “plant” it. Again, this is where the effective use of marketing analytics and CRM pays off, because you can examine trends from existing customers to pinpoint these areas. Let’s break this down a little further:
Awareness phase: A consultation or free evaluation may work best here, in order for the prospect to understand how such products and services work, or whether they need them at all.
Consideration: This is where a free or inexpensive offering (an online calculator, free survey research, etc.) will show prospects you’re willing to give something away with no strings attached, other than staying in the game.
Decision: Trial offers may be ideal when the customer is nearly there but not ready to commit, or when they are not able to immediately get access to the budget dollars they need.
Follow Up The Tripwire By Marketing Your Core Offering
A tripwire only really works if the prospect not only accepts it but migrates to a paying customer. This could take time in some cases, but it’s where marketing efforts should complement the sales pitch. For example:
A tripwire is a means to and end, and smart prospects will realize it. So approach it as less of a trap than a way to nurture an honest, mutually beneficial relationship.
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