Which would you rather be?
- The business that sells a commoditised product or service where there is no way to differentiate the offering except on price?
- Or the Guru sitting at the top of the proverbial mountain. The specialist that selects his clients carefully, dispenses advice which is eagerly acted on without dissent? The Specialist who commands an absolute premium in fees and gets it?
Obviously it’s the latter.
However, in my experience working with small businesses over the last 13 years, one thing stands out. Most offer what appears to be a commoditised service where the only differentiation is price!
And to survive, they must get as many leads in the door as possible as their conversion rate tends to be low, given the competition.
Which is precisely the wrong thing to do.
Today, I’m starting a series of articles on lead generation, done the right way. Leads that will allow you to progress from commodity provider to Guru status.
I warn you though. My thinking is counter intuitive and goes against conventional marketing and sales wisdom.
But then again, if you follow the mainstream, you’ll just get flushed down the river with everyone else!
Here’s an example of what you should be doing instead.
Jim has a business in the financial services area and is pretty much flat out with what he has on his plate.
All his current business comes from warm, qualified referrals from existing clients.
However he wants to grow his business and will need more leads than the current referral sources can provide. He can start to actively market, but is concerned he’d waste a lot of time dealing with inappropriate prospects who aren’t a good fit for his niched, boutique services.
So here are two things I said to him…
“Most sales people make the mistake of qualifying in. Looking for reasons why someone would be a good fit. The smart ones actually qualify out – as fast as possible, leaving them time to work with good prospects.”
In other words, you want to get rid of a bad fit as fast as possible, so you don’t waste time with them. This allows you to spend more time with people who are in your target market and are likely to want your product or service.
“And you don’t need a swag of new leads, many of whom could be time wasters. What you really need is a small set of highly qualified leads that really, really, want your service and are prepared to pay for it.”
His eyes lit up. He got it! In fact he commented that, “Most marketing companies talk about getting you huge numbers of leads. But that’s the last thing I want. I want a small number of good quality prospects I can deal with – people who understand my value and trust me to deliver.”
In short, it’s all about positioning and value, not price.
Remember the 80/20 rule? 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your revenue. And 20% of that 20% leaves you with the top 4% of clients – who will give you 64% of your revenue.
Your job is to find that top 4% as fast as possible and spend your time there.
How? By being ruthless in your qualification.
The first cull is getting rid of the 80% of non-starters.
I suggested Jim could do this by clearly stating who he works with and who he doesn’t. He’d state his values clearly, how he does business and what sort of client he’s looking for.
Equally importantly, he’d clearly state who he did not want to work with. The more specific with both, the better.
With the 20% that are left, he could put them though some hoops. Prospects might need to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire before he will speak with them.
A further cull could come from the quality of the answers.
Remember, Jim is looking for the top 4%. He doesn’t need hundreds of leads – just a handful per month of really top notch quality will keep him extremely busy.
As to the rest? He could put them onto a regular contact system where they’re kept warm, educated and reminded that he does offer a service which they might eventually aspire to.
All marketing is an ascension model. You want to have people ascend from base camp, up the mountain, most falling by the wayside, till the select few reach you. These are the committed ones. They’ll take your advice, give you no trouble and be a joy to deal with.
It’s all a choice. Be the commodity or be the Guru. You can’t be both.
If you’re struggling with how to position yourself and be perceived as the specialist, book in for a 2 Heads Are Better Than One consultation. Working together we’ll start creating a prospecting funnel will help you cull inappropriate prospects – before they take up your valuable time.
This way, you’ll be able to spend time with the 20% (and eventually the top 4%) of people who really, really matter. People who want to do business with you on your terms!
Call us on (02) 9499-7958 and get the ball rolling.