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The Chain of Conversion: Understanding Your Customer Lifecycle

  • Danny InyDanny Iny

Something is wrong.

You’ve got everything you thought you needed for your marketing plan. You’ve got advertisements, a kick-ass website and email templates. You’ve got systems for customer service and payment processing. You’ve got your distribution system absolutely locked down. Why aren’t you making half the sales you thought you’d be?

There’s a problem somewhere – but how can you figure out what it is? Customers, and your relationship with them, have lifecycles. The customer lifecycle starts with acquisition, when they first become a customer, goes on to service, where you’re able to sell them your product, and retention, where they keep coming back to you for your product or services. You can track where your customers are in the lifecycle by using the “Chain of Conversion”:

A percentage of Strangers (unique visitors) become Leads (might be interested)

A percentage of Leads become Prospects (showing a definite interest in your product)

Prospects receive the Presentation (in some cases, a personal, direct sales pitch)

A percentage of people receiving the Presentation become Customers (they bought it!)

A percentage of Customers become Repeat Customers (they bought it again, or bought something else from you)

Every sale you make will have gone through this process, and if there aren’t enough sales being made, then one of the links of the chain is broken, or not working properly.

Assuming that you have a good lead generation system, the best way to fix the problem is to start at the end and work backwards. If you aren’t getting any leads at all (meaning that nobody knows about your business, and nobody is visiting your website), than you’ll want to start at the beginning and work forwards.

You’ll need data to accomplish this – you have to always be tracking where people are in the Chain of Conversion, and how many are going from one link to the next.

Here’s an example:

You’re making 5 sales a week. You get those 5 sales by making 25 presentations. You had 200 prospects who might have been interested, and those prospects came out of a pool of 500 leads. The leads all started out as one of the 1,000 people who encountered some of your advertising or your website.

So where is the problem?

Well 5 sales for every 25 presentation is a 20% customer conversion rate,

25 presentations for every 200 prospects is a 12.5% customer conversion rate,

200 prospects for every 500 leads is a 40% customer conversion rate, and

500 leads for every 1,000 strangers is a 50% customer conversion rate.

Where can you improve? Looking at your business model you decide that you could make more presentations to your prospects, and make them better if you had another sales person on your team.
Or maybe if you fine tuned the presentation itself, and retrained your existing sales staff you could convert more presentations into sales.

You want to go with what is going to give you the most benefit for the least effort. That is to say, pick the low hanging fruit. If you can get a good improvement from a small change, it may be a better idea to do that than to work long and hard on a big change with an equal or only slightly better result. Use your resources wisely.

Once you know where your weaknesses are you can start improving them.

Say you have a weak conversion rate between strangers and leads. You might need to generate more traffic, or provide a better incentive, like a free report for a person to become a lead.

You see that having sales data is important at every step of the Chain of Conversion, but even if you don’t have it yet, you can still use this process, by working backwards from sale to stranger, to see what part of your process needs fine-tuning.

2 thoughts on The Chain of Conversion: Understanding Your Customer Lifecycle


Danny this is really helpful. Now i have abetter understanding of the process i should have in place. I have made a map from this and can see where my conversion problems are.

But what is the sensible way to strategies the process between lead and presentation if your customers won’t buy form a one page sales page.

Is it a question of length or is it that there need to be stages in between?


Hey Justin, the answer is that it depends.

What is the need and desire of your customer as they arrive on your page? Don’t think about what you want them to do – think about what they are looking for, and what they need to hear.

I know that you’re working through the manifesto – let me know once you’ve read through it all, and are ready to look at the whole checklist?

I hope this helps!

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