Robert Kiosaki, in his best selling business book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, explained that as an employee, you have a job. As a self-employed professional, you own the job. And the owner of a business hires people to perform the job.
So, in terms of making business happen you are either someone else’s employee, or you’re responsible. There are no other options. And though there’s an outside chance that in good times any business can just muddle through, over the next few years if you’re not aggressively pursuing new business you’re not likely to make it. Sorry.
Some people are just cut out to be employees.
Consider a carpet cleaning business. Not just any carpet cleaning business, this one was being contemplated by a young man who asked my help creating a marketing plan. He had worked for another, similar, business, enjoyed the work, and saw the profit potential.
We spent two days together researching and building that plan. When it was finished, I offered my best advice: DO NOT OPEN THIS BUSINESS.
The market was strong, there was room for another competitor, and the young man with the ambition and the new marketing plan actually enjoys cleaning carpets.
Unfortunately, he hates selling.
And, as we’ve already established, the owner’s primary function is to bring in the work.
Does that mean face-to-face selling? Possibly. But it definitely means that the owner can’t simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Business owners who avoid selling end up with skinny children.
At any given time, roughly 2 percent of any market is actively seeking what you sell. That 2 percent will come looking for you, or someone else who sells what you sell.
The other 98 percent?
You’re missing them. Most of your competitors are missing them, too.
Most of your competitors.
Care to know who’s attracting that other 98 percent? Those who actively sell the value of doing business with their companies.
The competitors who have television ads that are being watched by potential customers are getting some of the 98 percent. Those competitors who’s postcards and letters are making it to the homes, who’s public speaking and referral programs are producing familiarity, and who’s Yellow Pages ads are being read by the very people who need their goods or services are tapping into the other 98 percent.
But, like the young man waiting for carpet cleaning customers to find him, those businesses which wait for customers/clients/patients to seek them out are hoping that their “share” of the 2 percent will pay the bills. It won’t. After all, we’re discussing 2 percent of a pie that may be shrinking for a while.
What will grow your slice of that pie?
There are two things you can implement immediately, and you should be doing them both.
Find a reason to get back in touch with every customer and every former customer, then remind them of the reason they chose to do business with you. That reason shouldn’t be price.
If they were originally drawn to your business because of your selection, remind them that you can help them find exactly what they’re looking for. If customers chose you for the speed of your service, point out all the other things they can be doing when they finish with you. If they chose you for your detailed knowledge, help them recall the value of getting exactly what they need.
You may indeed lower prices, but only do it if it will help you to gain some of your competitor’s customers. And remember that he’s going to be strongly tempted to lower his prices, too. Reminding people of why you’re their best choice keeps you profitable.
Bringing in the business is the boss’s most important job.
Are you the boss?
It’s time to start selling.