22 Oct Are you Kidding Yourself about your Ability to Generate New Business?
Without generating new business we’re virtually all in trouble. The vast majority of businesses need a constant flow of exciting new opportunities and a pipeline full of freshly generated leads.
The problem is too many businesses are unable to clearly articulate who their audience is and why they should donate to you any of their precious time and attention. As a result, many start-ups go for a scattergun effect in the delusional believe that some mud will stick or mistakenly think that if they just put their product or service out there the proverbial mountain will up sticks and head on over to.
If you want to earn new business, you need to do the work.
Think about your customer, how easily can you describe right now without checking anything:
- Who are they?
- What they need?
- How can you remove their pains?
- Where are they?
- What should you say to them?
If you can, without any jiggle room, then you’re headed in the right direction. If not. It’s wake up and catch up time.
Unfortunately, it’s not just fledgling start-ups that are guilty of deluding themselves. Many of those who start with one or more pre-existing clients milk it for all it’s worth enjoying the glory days without due consideration to building their client base or really defining their proposition until it’s way too late.
It’d be great if we’d all developed some totally unique product or service, but the reality is most small businesses and entrepreneurs operate in crowded marketplaces, many with commoditised propositions. They then look to their social media, or external telesales professionals to magic new business for them at the drop of a hat for as little cost as possible. Sadly, the real world doesn’t quite work like that.
Ideally, to give yourself the biggest chance of success you’ll have these three fundamentals going for you:
- A clearly identified niche target audience with a recognised need
- A genuinely differentiated product, service or delivery method
- A compelling brand message that includes a way of resolving the buyer’s challenge
No social media agency, sales rep or telesales team are going to define these for you and nor should they. These are your clients. This is your offering. It is your voice.
If you find you’re struggling to identify these three fundamentals start by answering a few questions.
- Who is the perfect business or individual, that’s going to buy from you?
- What’s in it for your customer/client? Not a list of the features and benefits you offer but what does it actually do for them? What challenge does it resolve for them? What pain are you taking away?
- How do you want the customer you’ve identified to perceive your offer? How will you link who they are and what they need to the product or service? How will you effectively communicate to them the way you can solve their issues and make life better for them?
Who is the prefect business or individual, that’s going to buy from you?
As far as who is going to buy from you is concerned this is about starting to identifying which segment of the market are your clients. There are various ways to approach this:
This means you break up markets based on personal traits such as gender, income, age, race and marital status.
This is when you divide customers by the things they do, their hobbies and interests.
Maybe the most obvious this divides markets by location international, regional, national, local.
Rather more complex to accurately discern it’s based on criteria such as patterns of use and the benefits sought from your offering.
Once you’ve brainstormed the possible segments described above pick the section of the market you are going to focus on. Companies often focus on one market segment at a time. This way you can see more easily how successful you’ve been with each section of your target market and can tailor your message accordingly. Try, test, adapt and repeat until you get it right.
It makes good business sense to pick your segment based on criteria such as whichever you see is going to yield the best profit, is the least crowded with competitors, is the largest or has the long-term potential.
What’s in it for your customer/client?
This isn’t asking for a list of the features and benefits you offer but what does it actually do for them? What challenge does it resolve for them? What pain are you taking away?
Identify the distinctive place you want your product or service to hold in the minds of the market segment you identified. In many cases, finding a way to be different is more important than claiming to be better.
Some companies make quality a key positioning message and try to market their product as a luxury service, or it could be environmental friendliness, family friendliness, safety, reliability, durability. It could also be low cost or a means to split payment.
Write a list of what is it you DO for your buyers? Now eliminate everything on the list that any of your competitors do just as well. What’s left is your differentiation.
The key is to stand out from competitors and differentiate your business with a product or service that both provides unique value and appeals to the interests of your targeted market. There are several business models options you can apply for generic approaches to be well positioned and differentiated in your market.
If, despite all your best efforts, you really can’t come up with something to niche your market and differentiate your proposition, you’d better re-think your entry to this market at this time. or have deep pockets and be sure your sales and marketing team have a world class ability to differentiate your brand and message. Even then getting and keeping those customers and clients are not the same thing. Fool me once…
How do you want the customer you’ve identified to perceive your offer?
How will you link who they are and what they need to the product or service? How will you effectively communicate to them the way you can solve their issues and make life better for them?
If your messaging fails to create a significant differentiation in the minds of the customers and they don’t understand what’s in it for them then your sales numbers won’t reach the giddy heights on your business plan and cashflow sheets.
Two of the main tenants are clarity, consistency it also needs to be concise, accessible and human.
• Keep your message should be clear, simple and distinct so it cuts through all the clutter. A message that resonates with buyers and is easily tied back to the product or service
• Remain consistent. The execution may change depending on the medium and the campaign but help your customers and clients recognise that you are meant for one another by keeping the underlying message consistent across the board.
• Concise marketing copy that quickly tells your reader what they need to know in a way that hooks them is the gold standard. Remember why can be more engaging that what or how.
• Remember you are a human being talking to another human being. If you get too technical with your content, you’ll fail. If you try too hard to jam in as many key words and optimisation tricks, you’ll fail. Real people consume your message. If you’re not sure about the tone you should use think about how you’d naturally speak to friends and colleagues. If you try to be something other than authentic you it’ll stand out a mile off and the reader will instinctively not trust you.
Should your business be unable to provide clear answers for ANY of these crucial factors, then you really are kidding yourself and neither your internal or external team of marketing and sales professionals will be able to deliver the new business you need.
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