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Hidden life stage selling opportunities

The needs of all consumers change over time as they age. It is my sense that many business owners miss out on the repeat business opportunities presented by this eventuality.

There are many permutations of life stage segmentation models available. I found the one below easy to understand.

Life stage segment                                                      Age and family
Young Adults                                                                  Adults aged 20 – 39 with no children
Older Adults                                                                   Adults aged 40 – 59 with no children
Young Families                                                              Adults with all children under 10
Older Families                                                               Adults with one or more children over 10
Pensioners                                                                      Adults over 60 with no children
Mixed                                                                                  Multigenerational households

The application of such a framework in business is best understood by using a case study.

Most of us are clients of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry.

Enter Peter:

As a student, his parents gave him a second-hand vehicle.

He was fortunate to land a dream job after he finished his qualification. At this stage he wanted to update his 1995 student car. (He is now a Young Adult – see life stage segment above.)

He chose a branded vehicle dealership and purchased a pre-owned, newish vehicle. If the salesperson was savvy and had the business processes to support him, he would have captured the client`s information which is then used (with his permission) to:

  • SMS/email updates on new models, special deals and service reminders using conventional communication mechanisms and social media platforms, and
  • prompt him after a period of time that his vehicle might be due for an upgrade, because of the kilometres done, or the age of the vehicle.

In this way the dealership is keeping their brand top of mind with the client. A personal telephonic check-in by the salesperson with an invitation to try out a new(er) vehicle may increase the likelihood of Peter considering this dealership/brand when he is in the market for another vehicle.

Fast forward a number of years:

Peter is now well vested with this vehicle brand and has purchased numerous vehicles from them. He is married and has a 17 year old daughter. Because the dealership kept track of Peter`s life stage (Older Family – see life stage segment above) and has an updated family record, they know he has a daughter who might be in the market for a student vehicle soon. Instead of leaving things to chance, they congratulate Peter on his daughter’s 17th birthday and offer to help him find a suitable vehicle for his daughter when he is ready to pursue this need.

I trust that the principle and benefits of:

  • capturing a client’s details and life stage
  • ensuring that the record is kept up-to-date
  • tracking the changes in the family structure, and
  • using life events as selling/upsell opportunities

become very clear from the above.

Can you apply these principles in your specific business to increase/improve sales in a difficult economic environment?

‘Interpreted information becomes a knowledge resource which enables directed and relevant marketing endeavours.’

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

Sanlam is a proud partner of the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

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