May I ask you a personal question, as a friend? It’s important…
In lots of ways, business and marketing are like dating.
Just like dating, there are different ways to go about it, so you need to find what really works for you, and avoid falling into habits that don’t work.
Ideally, every business wants to find its ideal match in the market. But too many are promiscuous, spending too much time courting the wrong customers, sending out the wrong messages, and this can really cost you.
It is tempting to think that you need to:
- chase a lot of different customers,
- say “yes” to any offer,
- avoid turning away any business,
- and keep looking for new customers
But apply the same approach to dating. If you feel you have to date every potential partner that comes along, you’ll get a mix of good and bad experiences. But will you be able to spot (and secure) the really good ones when you see them?
Your time, energy and attention will be split. When you do get a great match, you’ll still be spending a lot of time dating lots of others, so will you be able to devote the attention to that one really good one? Will you be able to listen to them, to make them feel special, exceed their expectations?
I believe that it is vital to be disciplined when it comes to choosing which prospects to talk to. Choose what you really want and put it out there. If prospects come along that don’t look like a good match, don’t go there.
Avoid taking on clients and projects that will use up your time and resources, if they’re not the right ones.
When you do find a “keeper”, you’ll be able to devote the right attention to them, and you may find that something amazing happens.
In my previous agency, I used to process maybe 30 sales leads every month. This took time: filtering, setting up calls, writing proposals, and teaching new clients the way we work.
These days, we’ve shut the doors to new clients. Our team focuses our attention on literally a handful of clients. They get more of our attention and time, because I’m available. I’m not spending my days kissing more frogs, but on making my best clients happy.
And you know what? We’re doing better business, and we’re doing it with ease. We’re doing better work for our favourite clients, getting it done more quickly, and these clients are always ready to come back for more.
With the space this gives us, I know we can give out the exact message, and we can afford to be really choosy about any new business. That was always the case, but I needed the confidence to believe it’s possible to break the cycle.
(Photo from bixentro on Flickr)