I’ve spent the last week talking to some wonderful women. They are the ones who booked a free 30-minute coaching session with me. We’ve talked about lots, but specifically about laser-focus.
The purpose of the 30 minutes was for us to talk about their businesses and for me to offer some help and guidance on where to go to find customers. For some, it was about finding their very first customer, for others it was about finding more customers, spending more, more often.
There have been a number of common threads in these conversations and I thought I’d flesh some of these out for us to have a think about.
When You’re Selling, If You Build It, They Don’t Necessarily Come
It seems to be a common belief that if you create a website that ‘they will come’. That if you have a beautiful website means that customer orders will come pouring into your inbox. Yet the reality is that your inbox becomes this silent, malevolent space into which there are exactly zero orders pouring in; no matter how often you check it.
The truth is that there are now more than a billion websites in the world. How are your customers supposed to find yours? The answer is by doing lots to promote it, not by believing that customers will find you and then becoming disheartened when they don’t. Remember, if e-commerce was as simple as building a website, we’d all be millionaires already! You need laser-focus and clarity around where and how to promote your site.
Work With What You Have, Not With What You’d Like To Have
This is a biggie. These lovely, enthusiastic women have plans for expansion. They have considered referral programmes. They already know how they’re going to manage their time and childcare moving forward. I was told how they’re going to have to box clever with the taxman as their husbands are also self-employed. Yet they have still to find customers – or enough of them to pay them a living wage. Having plans for your business when it’s big is lovely, but until you have enough customers, you don’t have a business. Having laser-focused clarity about what your business is going to look like ‘once it’s taken off’ doesn’t help with right now. Right now, you need laser-focus around getting new customers.
I don’t intend to sound mean-spirited, but the fact is that you simply have to deal with the reality of what you have now. Work with what you have, not what you wish you had. If you have 5 customers but need 50, then the work you need to do is to grow your customer base, not to design a meaningful and personalised referral programme. Don’t get me wrong – asking for referrals is a good way to gain customers, but if it is the only way you’re working on growing a customer base, you’re going to be doing it for a very long time.
I Don’t Need A Perfect Customer
This one makes me cry. A couple of the conversations that I’ve had have been with women who have said that they understand that I think having a Perfect Customer is important, but that it doesn’t apply to their business. Apparently really and truly, absolutely anyone can use their product or service.
I’ve spent so long on creating classes, webinars, blogs, training material on why you need a Perfect Customer for a reason. Every single small business owner needs a Perfect Customer otherwise, you are yelling into the void marketing-wise and no-one will hear you.
Let me state this clearly; you need laser-focus about your Perfect Customer. You need to know where you should be with your marketing, both online and offline. Where you should be is where your Perfect Customer is. Yes, it could be that every single person in the UK could buy your product, but the truth is that they don’t know you’re there, so how can they? If you sell to whoever asks, but market to your Perfect Customer, you will be working to your best advantage. The more detail with which you have defined your Perfect Customer, the less competition you will have.
People Buy People
I understand the temptation to sit at your laptop and create Facebook ads. To spend money to advertise in local magazines and to put up posters and leaflet. However please understand that first of all, people buy people. With a few exceptions, If they don’t know you, they are less likely to buy from you. Your best customers will always come from face-to-face activity. If your business is online, then your face-to-face stuff may well be Facebook Live videos, or a blog (video or otherwise). BUT – it has to put you and your lovely personality into the equation. Otherwise, your customers will go and buy from your competitor, because they don’t know you.
Leafleting Doesn’t Work
How many times can you honestly say that you have made a purchase based upon a leaflet that has come through your door? Not once, I bet. Or maybe once, ever, in your whole life. Caveat: if you offer something that is very geographically based, then leafleting may work. For example, if you are a dog-walker or a lawn-mower. If you are a weight-loss consultant, or you sell aloe-based products, or you’re a teacher or you are a therapist of some kind, then leafleting just isn’t worth it. There is nothing that makes me sadder than hearing a lovely businesswoman telling me, hopefully, that they’ve put out 1000 leaflets and now they’re waiting for the phone to ring. There is nothing at all that has less laser-focus than leafleting. It’s the best example of ‘spray and pray’ marketing.
Take a moment to sit down and use that laser-focus to work out where you really are, not where you’d like to be. How many paying customers do you actually have right now? What do they spend each week/month? How much do you need to earn from your business? Do the multiplication and work out how many customers you need. Then go and get them.
Let Me Help with Laser-Focus?
I know it’s easy to say everything that I’ve covered in this rather long blog post, but it isn’t so easy to do it.
If you need some help and ongoing support, perhaps my Laser-Focused Clarity programme might be for you? It’s a 1:1 30-minute mentoring session each month, followed by ongoing personal support in between sessions. In addition, it includes membership of The Accountability Club (usually £10 a month) which is an online training programme and associated Facebook group.
At just £50 per month, the Laser-Focused Clarity programme is perfect for you whatever stage your business is at.