I’m sure you agree that “by referrals” is one of the best ways of growing business – no money thrown away on advertising that doesn’t work and no time wasted to convince strangers to do business with you. The referred leads are presold – because trust and confidence exist, at least to some degree. It boils down to getting more of that good thing – leads, right?
One of the best ways to get more leads is to focus on those who send you referrals already and to encourage them to do it more often. So, how are you doing in the department of rewarding your sources for referring you in the first place?
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, the average business never hears from 96% of its unhappy customers. And for every complaint received, a business will have twenty six others that are unreported, six of which are serious.
Why am I writing about this?
Because of the myth of a repeat customer.
I hear all the time business owners proclaiming proudly “most of my sales are repeat business”. Many business owners think that just because they get repeat business and customers stay with them, it means that they are doing something right. Sometimes they do. Quite often they don’t.
Have you ever grown tomatoes? Or flowers? Even if you haven’t, I’m sure that you have some idea what gardening is all about. Take tomatoes. You wouldn’t expect to plant one day then harvest a perfectly ripe tomato the next morning. Or even in two weeks.
Chances are you are perfectly aware that you would need to spend more time to cultivate your tomatoes. You know because you read about it or you watched your parents grow tomatoes, or your friends talked about it. Or maybe you even saw it on the Discovery Channel.
In any case, knowing what to expect – you would plan in advance. Starting with a decision as to what variety of tomatoes you’d like to grow. The large and juicy ones, or the small berry types. Or any other type in between.
Conventional wisdom says that success in business depends on finding a need in the marketplace and filling that need with your own product or service.
That makes a lot of sense.
It is incredibly important to sell what people need. However, you will sail much farther in the sea of business if you begin your venture by discovering first what YOUR needs are – what is that YOU love and feel passionate about? – THEN find out what market needs you can satisfy by supplying the product or service aligned with your life’s love and passion.
Even in such uncertain times as recession — while so many business owners struggle, those who build their business by design, succeed. They experience even higher profits. Lucky? Sure! — Luck favors prepared people!
A while ago I worked with a very talented painter. His goal was to get more private buyers for his expensive art pieces. I asked who was his ideal client. He said that he didn’t care who the buyers were, as long as they could afford to buy his art.
I asked if he liked the idea of selling his paintings to some mafioso interested only in the opportunity to launder money from selling drugs.
As a rule, I don’t give out my business card unless someone asks for it. Of course, there are rare exceptions, but normally, if someone doesn’t ask for my card – I don’t give it out.
Let me explain why.
What happens when we give out our business card before someone asks? We announce: This is what I am doing. And maybe even: I want you to buy from me.
By giving out our business card when people don’t ask for it, we put ourselves and our businesses in the spotlight – this might be gratifying for our ego, but it’s not good for our positioning. “Get in touch with me when you need me” is a weak attempt to get someone interested in our product or service. Although most people will politely accept the card, they will seldom – if ever – call.