The Life Cycle of Attraction
While we all love Steve Blank’s approach to get, keep, and grow customers, it is important to understand the six life cycles every entrepreneur must know by heart in order to grow their business. We’ll look at each of them in the coming weeks.
#1: The Life Cycle of Attraction
How much time elapses between first contact and the decision to buy? In most retail businesses, it is somewhere between 24 hours and 9 months. In service industries, this cycle is generally 3–18 months. Once a customer has explored and made the decision to buy from you, how long does it take to complete the transaction?
In a retail setting, it can be a matter of a few minutes at the cash register. In a service business, it can require a proposal, or negotiations over time until the agreement is made and work can begin. It can be a single click, or a series of clicks on a web-based site.
Working globally with entrepreneurs, I find most know the life cycle of their transactions by heart, or by doing. The challenge comes in transferring that information to new staff or team members. Startup companies often have neither the experience nor insight to gather that information, but an experienced entrepreneur can bring clarity to the life cycle of a transaction.
Having a general idea of the transaction life cycle can reduce stress on the customer and on the business. When a service provider understands that putting a proposal together generally takes a day, a week, or a month, expectations on both sides of the deal are more easily managed.
Don’t paint yourself into a box expecting all your transactions and customers to be the same. If 80–90% of your transactions fall into a general range, that is where you aim. The others — the exceptions — shouldn’t cause you worry or distress. Just be aware that they are exceptions.
Start paying attention to the life cycle of your transactions, and consider how you can make that cycle easier for you and for your customer.
Next Week: #2: The Life Cycle of Frequency
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- How will you determine the time between attraction and sale for your average customer?
- What tools have you employed to track the life cycles of your customer?
- What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.