Well this broken ankle malarkey has taken more out of me than I thought it would - healing when you're a bit older takes time. But it has given me the time to really review how I've generated new business for myself and for my clients and here are some of my conclusions.
|When was the last time you thought about why clients love or hate you?|
The primary reason why businesses struggle, falter, and fail is not because of failures in marketing, or finance, or even effort. They fail because the idea behind the product or service was crap in the first place. Sorry but you can't polish a turd and eventually the market finds you out.
So lesson number one - if you can't generate new and repeat business, ask yourself if you have something worthwhile to offer, or are you just pissing in the wind and wasting your time.
Lesson number two - if you are making clients happy and they are paying with real money then find out why. You probably think you know, but in my experience you might not. I used to think clients used my services to generate more business - but I found out that clients used me to challenge them about what the future for their market might look like. My natural instinct to create space in a marketplace that has yet to be filled, led me to ask questions other marketing folk just ignored.
Lesson number three - when you find out what you do that others will pay for - just get on with doing it. The time I've wasted doing everything else but getting on with doing what I do has cost me thousands. You don't have to have the best website, or nice business cards, or a new brochure - you really don't. Just find a client and do what you do - and then ask that satisfied client if they can help you grow your business by giving you an introduction to someone else. If you sell a product rather than a service you can do the same. Get your customers to become advocates for you. And when I say ask them, I don’t mean email them, I mean sitting with them eyeball to eyeball and asking them directly. In all the years I’ve been doing this, not once has a happy client said no!
Lesson number four - marketing and selling are two different skills, but increasingly forget the selling bit. Customers will come to you when they are ready. Selling is very old fashioned. Having excellent negotiation skills and being able to build a relationship with a stranger on the phone in less than 30 seconds are more valuable than learning how to handle a few objections!
The fastest way of growing your business is to make your clients genuine advocates for what you do – part 4 will focus on how this can be achieved.
Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net