One of the most common mistakes small business owners make, is that they try to force things to happen too soon.
The challenge with wanting things to happen too soon, is that too soon is… too soon!
Even if you are in a hurry, launching your product or project when it is still full of bugs and broken, is a bad idea. It results in you putting substandard work in front of your marketplace. It creates a terrible first impression. It will stop the initial, eager members of your marketplace from returning.
The thing about timing
Regardless of how soon we want to launch something, if it isn’t good enough for our marketplace, it will flop. After all, there’s zero demand for half-assed products.
Here’s the thing: If the farmer harvests her apples too soon, because she’s over enthusiastic, they will still be way too small and taste sour. No one will buy them. Of course, if she waits too long, those apples will turn to slush.
Here are 7 marketing tips and ideas, to help you make more sales. I have also included a number of related links, which point to more information.
1. Don’t close sales – Open relationships instead
For years, sales trainers used to tell people about the art of closing a sale. Today, we understand that business is all about people and that if we want to earn a client and encourage their ongoing patronage, we need to treat them like humans. This means building great, professional relationships with them.
For example: If you believe that you offer a great service, you have a professional obligation to tell prospective clients, so they don’t make a mistake and hire the wrong provider. You know that you will look after them, but you can’t be sure another provider will. Show them that you’re committed to helping them. Focus on them and their needs.
Operating from this mindset is a great deal more effective, than ‘closing people out’ and seeing them as an opponent you need to beat.
2. Look for the gold in your inbox
Find the last 10 emails you opened, which came from people or businesses that you didn’t know. Look for what it was that caused you to open them. Then think of ways to incorporate the lesson into your own email marketing.
3. Develop more word of mouth referrals
Think of the people and businesses that you recommend to friends. In each case, you will find that they have earned your trust and that the service they provide is remarkable in some way. We talk or remark, on things that are remark(able). If you want to attract word of mouth referrals, you need to offer a service that inspires or motivates people to talk about it.
A great place to look for inspiration, is to identify what it is that motivates YOU to recommend vendors to your friends. What can you learn from them, which you can build into your own service?
4. Be extremely easy to contact
If you want to attract more sales inquiries from your website, make sure it’s as easy as possible for people to contact you. Link to your contact page from all your most visited pages. If you use a contact form, only ask for the details you MUST have. Every additional field you add to a contact form loses you a percentage of inquiries.
Also, offer people a landline phone number to call you on. A static number makes your business look more permanent than operating behind a mobile number. This is especially important if you operate in an area of business, where there are lots of low-value providers.
5. Get noticed by the right people
Many small business owners are uncomfortable at the prospect of standing out. The challenge with that mindset, is that you can’t be outstanding without standing out. That’s not just a play on words, it’s a cornerstone of successful marketing.
Your prospective clients or customers can’t see you if you’re hidden in the background. Most small business owners look and sound almost identical, when you read their marketing or follow them on a social network. By copying what you see others doing, rather than being yourself, you become camouflaged.
Some of the most popular marketing sites are operated by people, who make THEIR money selling low price affiliate marketing products or software. If you try and apply the same ‘killer’ techniques they use, when marketing your service based business, you will find it far less effective.
I spoke recently with an accountant whose blog wasn’t generating any leads whatsoever. Her problem was that her site looked and sounded just like an affiliate marketing site. We changed it so that it reflected the service she provided and the inquiries immediately started to flow. I have seen that same issue hurt many, many service providers.
If you want to massively improve your marketing results, match your marketing to your marketplace.
7. Put your marketing ideas into action more often
Those great ideas you have for developing a new product or service can’t help you, if you don’t use them. There are few things in business more frustrating than seeing someone successfully put an idea into action, which you had years ago but didn’t run with. Similarly, many business owners wait until January to make important changes to their marketing, when it should be acted on as soon as possible.
Start off by actioning just one of your marketing ideas and see what happens. Test the idea. Measure the feedback. Learn from it and move forward. When you take this progressive, pro active approach, you will be amazed how much more effective your marketing becomes.
I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope there’s something here, which you can put into action.
How much do you value your time and how much do you charge for it?
I mention this, because although we claim to place huge value on our time, many people act in a way that suggests the opposite. The thing is, it’s impossible to build a successful business unless you use your time wisely and charge for your time accordingly!
How to lose time and waste your money
The lawyer who wastes 2 hours trying to repair his IT problem, doesn’t understand the value of his time. He can hire an IT professional for a third less than his hourly fee and get the job done correctly, in half the time.
Instead of using those 2 hours to delight his clients, he’s losing both time and money doing the job himself.
Of course, managing your time is more than just delegating tasks wisely. It’s also about protecting yourself from interruptions, which steal your time and divert your attention.
Losing time and surrendering attention
The business owner who allows themselves to be distracted all day with social network updates and emails, is handing their time (and attention) over to whoever demands it. However, by checking for email or updates at designated times, which suit their work flow, they can get far more done and save a massive amount of time.
How I gain an hour, for pennies!
When I put fuel in my car, I pay a little more for it than I need to. Why? Because the place opposite that charges less for fuel, always has an enormous queue. I can save myself 15 or 20 minutes every week, by going to the slightly more expensive place.
Here’s the thing: The hour or so a month this saves me, costs me pennies (literally). It’s great value, yet the majority of people can’t see it. Instead, they choose to trade their time, the most valuable asset any of us has, for pennies.
Can you spot the mistake here?
Pick any 2 lawyers, designers, dentists, accountants, etc, in your town and their fees will usually be within 10-20% of each other.
Whilst these people claim their time is of huge value, they sell it for average fees. They then end up working too many hours for average clients. That’s the OPPOSITE of how to grow a successful business.
How the most successful service providers do it
The most successful service providers work fewer hours, yet they earn far more than the average service provider.
Because they choose to offer an exceptional service, doing amazing work for high value clients. These high value clients pay them accordingly. So, they don’t need to work crazy hours, the way ‘average’ service providers do. These service providers place value their time in the truest sense, which means they use their time to do the best work possible – not average work, for average clients and average fees.
In short: It’s not enough for us to say we value our time. We need to demonstrate the value of our time in the decisions we make.
A business owner with passion is a formidable force. Here are 5 powerful advantages these passionate people have, over the average business owner:
Their passion inspires others to believe in them.
Their passion drives them forward, when others decide to quit.
Their passion gives them the courage they need, to leave their comfort zones when required.
Their passion is contagious. It motivates the people around them.
Their passion acts like a magnet, which attracts the people and resources their business needs.
Where does that kind of passion come from?
Passion is something we create ourselves. It comes to us when we get clear on a compelling, inspirational goal or target, and believe we will achieve it.
If you are not feeling and transmitting that kind of passion, take some time out today to think what your goals are for your business. Dream big dreams, then create a plan to make your dreams a reality.
Determination, drive and persistence are essential for business success. However, without a strategy they are useless. That’s why toddlers don’t run the world’s most successful businesses!
Doing the wrong things, even with determination, drive and persistence, leads to nothing but frustration. It’s the mistake made by every business owner, who works hard, yet makes little progress.
If you are following a strategy and it isn’t working, either improve the strategy or replace it with one that works. If you don’t know how to build the right strategy for what you want to achieve, hire someone who does.
Remember: Working hard, for too little reward, is a choice we make. We are free at any time, to start doing the right things, correctly.
When a prospective client tells you that they can’t afford your services, it’s seldom what they really mean.
What they really mean is that they think your service is too expensive — that the fee is higher than the value.
Lower the fee or increase the value
The average business owner lowers their fee, in order to be more affordable. The lower their fee, the higher the perceived value. If they lower their fee enough, they will gain lots of low value clients and build a low profit business.
The most successful business owners increase the value they provide. They then make sure that the value is clear to their prospective clients. If they increase the value enough, they will gain lots of high value clients and build a highly profitable business.
BONUS: Here’s a FREE, 3 part series on how to sell your services to the best potential clients, for the highest fees: