I’ve been doing something unusual this last few weeks. I‘ve been working with a bloke! We’ve been talking about selling techniques.
He’s a web designer and a bloody good one at that. He creates beautiful, elegant websites with lovely features that are great for the website visitor and even greater for the owner of the website. Even better, once he’s created the site, he offers tech support on an inexpensive retainer that means you only have to do the bits you want to (writing blog posts perhaps?) and he’ll do the rest. His best skill is that he can put all of the techy jargon into plain English and make the most technophobic of us understand what it’s all about.
He has a couple of loyal customers who rave about him and he’d like to have many more. Why doesn’t he have a whole host of them? Well, this is where it gets interesting. He hasn’t started selling at all. Currently, his customers are either people who know him, who know what he does, or people to whom he’s been recommended.
1, 2, 3… Sell!
When we first started talking about what I do and what he does, it was really interesting. He has read most of my blog posts and has found them quite useful on occasion (praise indeed from a bloke) but he isn’t ready to start selling yet, because he doesn’t know enough about…. And then the list started. He is taking online courses in everything techy. From email marketing, to SEO (search engine optimisation), from editing green-screen videos to podcasting. This guy wants to know all things techy. He also needs to understand selling techniques, but they don’t feature yet.
He can’t get selling, because he isn’t able to offer a complete ‘one-stop shop’ service for absolutely everything web and marketing related that a small business owner might want, whether or not said business owner is aware that she does. The fact that a small business owner might prefer to get an expert to handle her social media or email marketing etc seems to have passed him by. He wants to have enough knowledge to be able to do anything, absolutely anything that a potential customer may want. He isn’t even close to starting a conversation about selling techniques.
He loves learning. He especially loves learning about technology. That helps with the sophisticated procrastination he’s got going.
When is Enough Enough?
The thing that stops us taking action is fear. Fear is always at the root of procrastination. When I say that, people scoff (especially this fella). However, far greater minds that I have clearly proven that it is fear that stops us from moving forward.
Our fears can be vague worries or gigantic monsters that loom over us, but they are fears nevertheless.
Fears That Prevent Sales Action
Examples of the sorts of fears that we have around marketing, sales and selling:
What if our customer asks a question we can’t answer when we’ve set ourselves up as the expert? Fear of being found lacking.
The customer might want something that I can’t provide? Fear of being found lacking and/or missing out on an opportunity
I could make a little money outsourcing logo design to another freelancer and put my cut onto the price – every little helps as some shop famously says. I can’t allow that to disappear. Fear of loss.
I want to be able to offer my website services to everyone (or X industry and Y industry as well as A, B and C industries), I don’t really feel that a ‘perfect customer’ is right for my business. Fear of missing out.
Anything Familiar Here?
Do you recognise yourself in anything I’ve said about this chap? This incessant quest for knowledge that he displays is not unfamiliar among my female clients and blog readers. How many times have you thought that if you just had the right flyer/Facebook post/slogan on your t-shirt/magnetic sign for your car, then it would be fine – your customers would come pouring through your door?
The Time Is Never Right
The thing is this; the time is never right. You will never know enough. You will always be learning. However, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.
If you have one or two friends who are customers, no matter how happy they are, they are not going to be able to create enough referrals to give you a business that will support you financially. You need to get out there and find real customers who come to you because you’re great at what you do.
My suggestion? Sit down and create a perfect customer. Someone who really needs what you do. Someone who will really appreciate the fact that you can make it so easy for them and will explain it to them in non-jargon.
Then get out there and find them!