The thought occurred to me that buyers have a range of currency in their pockets with different values and we as marketing and sales people are asking them to part with a quantity of that currency over time. The interesting thing about this idea is that money is NOT the buyer’s currency we are asking for most of the time.
What’s in Their “Wallet”?
Look at the range of currency in the buyer’s wallet at any given time:
- Contact information
- Loyalty and Referral
Each of these currencies has a value to them and a value to us. As marketers knowing how much the buyer values each of these different currencies is immensely helpful so we can be prepared to offer the right level of value so the currency will be given to us quickly. Here are a couple of examples.
The lowest and most simple example is the contact form. The buyer will only divulge the minimum amount of contact information, if any, for low-value information. He likely won’t fill out a web form for a brochure. A 12-page white paper written by a respected third-party might encourage him to give up his name and email address.
Time is a valuable currency for everyone. The more time we ask of the buyer (for a demo, a proof of concept pilot, reviewing our proposals) the more we had better be ready to offer in return. Is the promise of higher productivity enough to warrant a pilot project in the factory that will chew up the buyer’s time?
Be careful about time currency. Its value can be deceptive. Many buyers are willing to spend time with you, but not willing to spend money or invest internal influence to move the deal forward.
Buyer’s Currency Along the Buyer’s Journey
Just as one uses different currencies when they travel from one country to the other around the world, so does your buyer. I suggest mapping the currency and its relative value to each stage of the buyer’s journey. Incorporate the buyer’s perception of currency value into their persona.
In early stages of the buyer’s journey—in the top stages of the funnel—the only currency that will likely be used is Information, Time, and Opinions.
As the buyer progresses down the funnel the currency becomes more varied and more valuable to him and to you. Time is still exchanged and Influence and Recommendation take on gold-like value. What are you doing to earn the payment of Influence and Recommendation?
One of the most valuable currencies is Trust. Without an exchange of Trust most deals or purchase orders won’t happen. What do you deliver to earn payment of Trust? How about Integrity and Truth in addition to a Guarantee or Service Level Agreement?
Even after the deal is closed, product is delivered and invoice is paid there are two other currencies the marketer cherishes and must work hard to earn. That, of course is, Loyalty and Referral. What is your company doing to keep the customer satisfied and to earn their referral? Your Net Promoter Score and customer churn rate will reveal just how much Loyalty and Reference coin the customer is willing to toss your way.
Don’t lose sight of what currency you’re asking for at a particular stage in the buyer’s journey, and what value the buyer is placing on that currency.