I recently had a conversation with a frustrated business owner who felt that the majority of his prospects were unresponsive and didn’t see the importance and usefulness of his products.
“Why can’t people see how important our products could be to their business?” he lamented. “Do they know what would happen if this part of their business is compromised? They’d be shut down for days!”
I’ve had this conversation with many business owners. Time and again, I’ve seen them try to convert the “non-believers”—those people who have no interest in their products or services and don’t have any intention of making a purchase from them.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. You may believe so strongly in what you do that it seems ridiculous when people don’t “get it.” You think: They should be knocking down your door to get to you.
I’ve felt that way too. I believe every business owner could benefit from good outside counsel—whether it’s a great executive coach or a peer advisory board. But guess what? The vast majority of business owners don’t work with a coach or peer board and can’t fathom why anyone would. That’s just the way it goes. If someone doesn’t buy in, they don’t buy in and there’s nothing you’ll ever do that will change that.
Sometimes we believe:
- I should create more social media content
- Maybe I need to tweak the language in my weekly email
- Perhaps I need a better headline
- Maybe I’m contacting prospects on the wrong day of the week
We spend a ton of time, energy, money, and marketing effort trying to convert the non-believers. I call it “making two sales.” We end up having to make two sales. The first sale is trying to convert the non-believer. The second sale is trying to convince them to work with us. It’s exhausting.
Once I learned not to make two sales but focused more on reaching the “believers” our sales skyrocketed.
My advice? Learn to understand right away who’s a non-believer and move on. Don’t worry about their reasons for not wanting to buy from you. It’s a waste of mental capacity.
What we finally learned is that you need to find the people who already believe in your product or service and meaningfully engage with them. Before you ever get to their needs, get to what they believe.
There are many ways to engage, including social media content, blogs, networking, public speaking. Share your values and beliefs. Communicate in bold ways. Expose people to new ideas. Meet as many people as you can.
Then, most importantly, create huge amounts of trust ahead of time. Provide your potential clients with an experience of what it would be like to work with you. Allow them to form a bond with you and your ideas. Don’t stray from your message or become a chameleon.
It’s one thing to understand that we need to focus on marketing to the people who already believe in our product or service. It’s an entirely different challenge to truly understand who they are.
I’ve heard these people described in many ways: your client persona, client avatar, early adopter, etc. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Just take the time to identify and understand your perfect client persona. Then craft every message—your social media, your personal interactions, and your networking—to that client persona.
It takes focus and discipline. It’s very easy to fall into the “everybody’s a prospect for me” attitude. You’re afraid you’re going to miss out on another potential market segment. Please put those worries out of your head. If you spend all of your efforts finding, marketing to, and serving that client persona, you’ll experience an entirely new level of business growth.
Many people ask us how to identify their client persona. Here’s a few questions to ask:
- What clients have consistently gotten the best results from working with us?
- What are their common challenges?
- What size company are our best clients?
- How long have they been in business?
- What are the common personality traits of our perfect client?
- What are their desired outcomes from working with us?
- What have our clients tried in the past?
- What clients have had the worst results working with us?
- What was the situation that caused our best clients to do business with us?
- How old are our clients?
- What are their values?
- What are their beliefs?
I’m sure you can think of many more questions. Hopefully, this just gets you thinking about this in a more detailed way than you ever have before.
Help that target audience understand specifically how you help people just like them overcome challenges or get massive results. Use case studies they can relate to; those are very affective business development tools. Gain your potential clients’ trust. Be seen by them as the expert and the one they can relate to.
Understand your client persona and quit trying to convert the non-believers. You’ll find it to be a very useful approach in growing your business.
Interested in learning more about Mike and his entrepreneurial endeavors? Read our interview:
Entrepreneur Co-Founds Business Advisory Startup.
Get more entrepreneurial tips from Mike in his Innovation Destination Hartford blog:
Business Realities for Successful Entrepreneurs