The Second Sale Strategy™. Notebook with the title The Second Sale Strategy and charts sitting below.

The Second Sale Strategy™

Maximize Your Customer Retention and Growth.

You could likely learn a thing or two from those flyers you get in the mail – they are not looking for the first sale, they are looking for the second sale. Traditional “Getting the sale” thinking is transactional in nature. It doesn’t lay the foundation for a long-term relationship with your buyer.

Your strategy shouldn’t be all about the first sale. It should include what happens after that – what happens in the second sale.

In order for you to develop a strategy that includes second sale thinking, there is one thing that is critical to understand: Your buyer’s journey.

When you understand the buyer’s journey, you can create a strategy that allows you to uphold the three key tenets of a Second Sale Strategy.

Principle 1: The Lead Attraction Process

Every marketer on the planet will tell you that you need some type of sales funnel and lead generation strategy. This typically sends people scurrying to create the easiest thing they can for a free download. Often though, the very thing they create is created with the objective of list-building in mind – instead of attracting the right buyer and the first and second sale.

When you consider your lead attraction process, it’s about more than building your mailing list.

You need to consider these three things:

1. Your website’s most wanted action.

When someone comes to your website, is it clear how you can help them and what you most want them to do? Is it really subscribing to that pop-up you’ve got programmed to show up the second someone arrives or is it something deeper?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

    • Does the message they read convey how you can help them?
    • Is it clear what your business does and the services you offer? Or, is your copy so clever that someone must solve a riddle to figure it out?
    • Part of your lead attraction strategy needs to include simplifying what you do for your buyer and making it super clear what the first step is. Have you done that?

2. Your authority and credibility.

Maybe your website is only a part of how you generate leads.

The Second Sale Strategy. Mac computer on a desk featuring a webpage with customer testimonials.

If you’re like me, you may receive a ton of inbound leads that are referrals from other clients. This week alone, I’ve received three.

Don’t assume that when a trusted client or colleague refers you, that your next potential buyer takes that recommendation at face value. They don’t. Before they reach out, they creep you. They go to your website, they read your about page, they look at your blog and they check you out on social media.

Do each of these places showcase your authority and do they demonstrate credibility? The fastest way to lose a lead is to have an inappropriate social media post, or better yet, no social presence at all.

Just last week, someone reached out to me and was in a hurry to do business with me. They didn’t have a website and I couldn’t find them on LinkedIn. After our call, they failed to follow-up like they said they would. It led me to assume it was more of a fishing expedition on my services and pricing, than it was a real qualified inbound lead.

This goes both ways, though. If you can’t be found online, and someone can’t see with their own eyes that you exist and that you do the work you say you do, chances are, 60% of the potential leads you could have had, will keep looking.

3. Your responsiveness to leads.

Speed is a competitive advantage. When someone does take that step to reach out to you, be responsive and demonstrate a sense of urgency.

If it takes you a week to respond to an email, chances are, you won’t get to the first sale.

According to my colleague and sales expert Colleen Francis, statistics show that 75% of buyers will make a decision based on the speed of response they receive. If you’re slow to respond, you likely won’t get the sale.

If you can’t get the first sale, you’ll never get the second sale.

Principle 2: The Loss Leader Sale

The loss leader sale is the first sale. It’s the eggs at the back of the grocery store on sale for 99 cents that made you stop by in the first place. It’s the hook that takes you from being a lurker to a buyer. And, if done well, it can turn your next lead into a client and later a referral source.

If you look at the grocery store example, there is an actual strategy behind those 99 cent eggs. They are placed at the back of the store, and you have to walk by all kinds of other products in order to get to them. This journey takes you through aisles of temptation and most buyers don’t make it out with eggs alone.

This leads me to the three things you need here:

1. You need to know the buyer’s journey.

Grocery stores know the journey you will take through their store to get those eggs. They can easily predict what you’ll grab from the end caps along the way. Are you that sophisticated?

Answer this: What is the real problem that your buyer needs to be solved and what is the first step to solving that problem?

Years ago, people used to reach out to me for social media marketing services. Over and over again, I’d write proposals and close approximately 20% of the business. It was pitiful. Then, one day, I decided to change my approach and start by selling one thing: A strategic marketing roadmap.

This roadmap was essentially the first step that needed to be taken in order for our team to execute their social media marketing services and it was an easy sale for them to say yes to. The strategy allowed the buyer to gain clarity and confidence during the first step. My conversion rate skyrocketed to approximately 80%.

The best part? I don’t have to write proposals anymore to get that first sale. All it takes is a conversation with a buyer who is looking for someone to help them solve a problem.

2. What is the pricing threshold you need to meet for that first sale?

When it comes to sales, there is a continuum of trust that has a price tag attached to it. That price tag depends on whether a buyer has met you in person or not. As a business owner, you must pay attention to what that threshold is, and respect it so that when you are pricing the first step, you can make it an easy step for your buyer.

In my work, I’ve found that this pricing threshold is between $5000 and $10,000 dollars. Closing a $5,000 sale is very easy for me, and the value the buyer receives on that first sale is far in excess of the investment.

We are working on a strategic marketing roadmap for a client right now that has more than 70 pages of detail to help them in their business. Strategy, which is always the first sale, is a loss leader in our business. We go all-in on strategy because we know this is what leads to the second sale.

3. How can that first sale set you up for a 90% conversion on the second sale?

You can set yourself up for a high conversion rate on the second sale if you do two simple things:

    • Deliver excellence in the first sale.The Second Sale Strategy. Top view of computer on desk with a paper of statistics and someone writing in a notebook.
    • Clearly understand what your buyer wants to do next.

In our strategic marketing roadmap, we outline the exact implementation strategy that needs to be followed to help our clients reach their goals and objectives. And, we provide the client with options for us to do the work.

That is all we do. And 90% of the clients who take the first step, take the second one, too. The second sale is where we solve the biggest pain point for them.

While I say to do two simple things, “simple” does not mean easy.  

We deliver excellence and tremendous value in the first sale. We pour into the relationship we want to have with our clients and showcase how we can help them. And, we do not go heavy on pitching the second sale.

That’s the biggest secret. When you deliver excellence in the first sale, the second sale is easy. Your buyer is so ready to move to the next step that you don’t even really need to sell.

The second sale is easy, but it’s only easy if you understand your buyer’s journey and how to solve their problem.

Principle 3: The Second Sale 

The second sale is where you gain, what my colleague Andrew Sobel describes as, Clients For Life.

In our business, we have worked with some of our clients for over a decade now. That’s a long time, and the work we do is built on the foundation of a strong relationship.

The second sale is where you can get rapid, sustainable and deep growth in your business. The second sale is how you scale.

Three things happen with the second sale:

1. Your buyer commits to a deeper and longer-lasting relationship with your business.

While I indicated that our threshold for the first sale is 5-10K, the threshold for the second sale is significantly higher. When you establishcredibility and trust with your buyer and they believe you can help them, they will commit to a longer-term client relationship with you.

The Second Sale Strategy. Two professionals standing and discussing a document.

It doesn’t matter if you sell marketing services, spa services or retail products. If you delight your buyer with the first sale and you keep delighting them, they will keep buying provided what you are offering them provides them with the results they want.

If your butcher regularly sells you chicken that is spoiled, you won’t keep buying from them. The same is true for any service whether it is marketing or the relationship you have with your hairdresser.

People commit to long-term business relations with you when you continue to deliver a great experience and a quality product or service.

2. Your buyer starts to get results from how you serve and support them and that makes them feel good.

One of our key strategies is our business retention, and the way you do that is by doing what you say you will do. Imagine you go to Chick-fil-A and they serve you beef… You likely wouldn’t go back because that’s not what you went for.

Give your buyers the product or service they expect. In fact, give them more than they expect and when you do that, great things happen.

3. Your buyer starts to tell other people about you and the work you do… it feeds the lead attraction process and makes your marketing efforts a whole lot easier.

When your buyer is happy and they tell their friends and colleagues about the work you do, your marketing gets a tiny bit easier.

Yes, you still need to show up. You still need to demonstrate credibility and authority and have a presence on social media. But, there is a shift from chasing business to easily attracting it.

Pay attention to the clients who refer business to you and treat those people well. Be sure to acknowledge them and close the loop so they know that you are taking great care of the people they send your way.

It is a privilege to receive a referral, and you should always be grateful and never expect this from someone. When your clients do refer business to you, it’s a sign that what you are doing is working. No one will refer you if there is the slightest apprehension that you might make them look bad.

I talk about this more in my podcast episode, so be sure to check that out if you want to learn more.

The Third Sale

Although the title of this blog is The Second Sale Strategy™, as you can see, if you do great work on the second sale, there really is a third sale. It is the sale your new happy customer sends you because they appreciate the work you do.

Do great work. Know your buyer’s journey. Know what their first step is and do that exceedingly well, and the rest will easily take care of itself.

With these principles you will have a strong sales strategy. If you are looking for someone to help you even further with your business strategy, I encourage you to reach out to me here.


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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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