The term “intimate” is the best word to describe the ideal relationship you can have with your customers, but we don’t mean it in the physical sense, even though that does provide us with a model for the process. This term applies because intimacy suggests a mutual trust and respect that arises between you and your customer. When trust and respect are present, magic happens. it’s when breakthrough sales occur, and when you begin to build a tribe of followers who engage with you time and again.
Our clients follow a very specific system we’ve created in order to make engaging with their audience - both existing and new - not only easy but highly effective in establishing an intimate relationship in a non-intimate environment. We call this the 12 Steps of Intimacy for Relationship Marketing. Or, The 12 Steps.
The 12 Steps are based on a study published by Desmond Morris in the 1960s where he studied how homo sapiens develop long-term, intimate relationships. He determined that there are 12 steps that two people naturally take in building their relationship, which determines if they will have a long-term relationship vs. a short-term kind of relationship (such as a one-night stand). Skipping more than one step in the process generally puts the relationship in jeopardy, or it indicates that an actual relationship is not desired.
We have applied Morris’s 12 steps to business and identified what these steps are, what you need to offer or provide at each step to build trust, and what type of currency can be requested and paid for at each step that will seed a strong relational trust that will grow.
The key to planning out your 12 Steps is to make it easy for someone to engage with you at their own pace, and in a way that builds trust along the way. While we cannot ever force someone to take each of these steps, they’re designed to allow people to engage with you as they wish. You keep providing value, and they will follow along the path you have set for them. The 12 steps are key to providing you with a clear competitive advantage.
Eye to Body – You are seen, but do not see those who see you. You can only control how you are being seen. In business, this generally means that someone has seen you on TV or at someone else’s event, heard you on someone’s radio show, or maybe found you in a Google search.
Eye to Eye – Now you see them. You make eye contact. In business, this is generally someones reading your blog or watching your vlog, or maybe arriving on a landing page on your website. Here, you want to make sure that you link to the offering in Step 4, and also make available the ability to ability to comment on the article or to share it.
Voice to Voice – This is your chance for a personal exchange - not just you “talking” to them, but their opportunity to talk to you. Frequently, this is someone commenting on your blog post or in social media. It’s important to acknowledge and respond to these comments. This can also be someone sharing your posts or retweeting a comment.
Hand to Hand – Now you’re starting to build trust. Here you can offer a free, downloadable white paper without asking for an email address. You can also engage the prospective client with a quick quiz or assessment that will help them learn more about themselves (as it applies to their need for your business). This is called a Reverse Opt-In. They take the quiz and receive high-level (general) results, all without supplying any information.
Arm to Shoulder – Trust is continuing to build. It is at this step that you can now ask for a little bit of information from them. In the case of a Reverse Opt-In, a full results report can be emailed to them. It’s at this point you are able to get their email address
Arm to Waist – Again, we’re getting to know more about each other and feeling more comfortable. Now the prospective client is willing to spend a little more time and maybe give you a little more info. Here, we recommend services like a free video (or short series) or maybe the chance to participate in a free product trial.
Hand to Face – Trust, and confidence continue to build. They’re gaining value at each step and are wanting more. In this step, you can offer a free consultation, a free webinar, or a free workshop. It’s possible to ask for up to 4 hours of time at this step.
Kissing – Here’s where things get interesting in a personal relationship. Notice that it took 8 steps to get to this point. You’ve now gained their trust for them to make a nominal purchase. Here you can offer your book, or an entry-level product or service. Price at this step should generally remain under $100 (but could be slightly higher if your top-line offerings are 6-figure offerings).
Hand to Body – Now you’ve gained enough trust that you would become their go-to expert. You can continue to ask for more money, time, energy and information. Typical offerings here include 1-2 day events, group coaching calls, or memberships to intermediate services. Prices here are generally up to $2,000-$3,000.
Mouth to Body – Now you have gained considerable trust, and they are willing (and asking) to buy bigger and to commit more time and energy to your offerings. They’re seeing success and want more! Typical offerings at this step include longer events (2-3 days), premium subscription programs, higher level coaching, etc. Prices here can generally head upwards of $5,000-$7,000 (or maybe slightly more, as in your case).
Body to Body – At this level, you have earned great trust and their commitment to you. Typical offerings at this step include Masterminds, week-long courses, and premium services. Prices here can be at the $10,000+ level.
Full Body Contact – At this level, your client is an evangelist, recommending you to close friends and associates. This is where your top offerings live, and the prices here are whatever is appropriate for your business. Congratulations!
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