Employees may be passionate about your cause, but they’re not passionate enough to work for free. Money is the one necessity that every business shares. Getting enough of it also happens to be the leading cause of failure.
82% of businesses fail due to a lack of cash flow.
If businesses know this, why don’t they do anything to rectify the issue? They sit around and hope the right customer or client walks in the door. I empathize, I’ve been there myself. I figured if I delivered a quality product, clients would be busting down my door.
Sometimes they were…Sometimes they weren’t. I learned that passive business development is what leads to cash flow issues.
Sitting around and waiting for referrals and repeat business is unpredictable. You need to be more proactive if you want your business to survive (or thrive). My friend Cole from Honey Copy recently mentioned in his weekly email that he dedicates 20% of his day to marketing his business no matter how things are going.
Sounds easy, right? It’s not.
Building a daily habit is no small feat. It’s easy to let it slip when you’ve got a full plate of business. What happens when you finish those projects and your plate is empty? That’s not the time to start marketing and sales. You have to find, woo, and then close business before seeing a penny.
Slow your roll…
Hold up before you run out guns blazing firing off marketing tactics in every direction. I hope this post inspires action, but let’s take some time to put a little strategy into our efforts. Firing bullets in every direction makes it unlikely that you’ll hit the right target. You just end up wasting all your ammo (money and time).
Consistently executing a focused plan is what leads to a finely tuned business development machine. Follow these 4 steps of the saturation method and you’ll build a healthy stream of unicorn customers (wonderfully majestic creatures to be cherished and loved).
Step 1: Shrink The World
Stop trying to think big. Everyone is not your customer. Narrow your market down to what Seth Godin defines as the Minimally Viable Audience. If you haven’t read about the minimally viable audience, stop reading this and go back to the previous sentence and click the link. I promise his short post is worth your time.
Trying to speak to everyone is a recipe for speaking to no one. Here are a few simple prompts to define the right minimally viable audience:
- Who has the strongest need for your product/service? Focus on the people who have an aching desire or unbearable pain.
- Are they willing to pay for what you offer? Just because a group needs what you sell doesn’t mean they’ll pay for it. This is an important distinction to consider that many people brush past. Don’t waste your efforts on a market that doesn’t have the means to pay for your product.
- Can you reach them? It’s a necessity to have a clear channel to target and reach your audience with your message in some form or fashion (social media, tradeshows, industry publications, blogs, etc…). It’s preferable that they’re easily targeted via multiple channels.
- What makes them like each other and different from everyone else?Go beyond the surface level demographic description and tap into psychographics here. Figure out the fears, desires, and buying triggers that unite this group.
Answering these questions will help you paint a vivid picture of your minimally viable audience (MVA). Knowing who these people are will allow us to saturate them with the right message later.
Step 2: Write A Script
Repeated exposure to a consistent message drives recognition. Saying the same thing with the same language across every customer touchpoint will eventually make a message stick. How do you get everyone on your team saying the same thing?
Write a script.
Make it ridiculously simple by taking it down to one single sentence using the following prompt.
We help __________ do ______________.
Example: We help service businesses grow by connecting their brand, marketing, and sales strategies.
A single sentence is versatile. One sentence can power your website, social media profiles, and sales pitch. In fact, it should power all of these things. Customers must see this message everywhere they look and hear it from everyone they speak with at your company.
Step 3: Blitz The Hell Out Of Your Little Corner Of The World
You’ve identified who your minimally viable audience is, where to reach them, and what to say to them. Now it’s time to make them feel like you’re everywhere they look.
By shrinking the world, this is possible with a little budget and a lot of sweat. I like to break this out into two complementary categories.
Think of marketing like the farming portion of your efforts. You’ll be planting seeds and growing an audience of people that can be harvested when they’re ready. Marketing will consist of paid and organic efforts. You’ll want to capitalize on multiple marketing channels. A few regular channels to consider (but certainly not an exhaustive list) include:
- Google Ads
- Social Media
- Direct Mail
- Blog Posts
Here’s an example sequence on how you can plant some seeds and start farming your fields:
Google Ads & Social Campaigns: Set up Google Ads and social media campaigns targeting your niche. You can be amazingly specific with your targeting parameters on Google and almost every social channel. Determine what your people are searching and consuming and be there when they look with helpful information. For most businesses, the best action is to establish credibility and trust as a first step.
Tradeshows: Attend the biggest tradeshow/tradeshows for your industry. Strategically invest in booth space and have a plan to stand out and drive engagement. Don’t just show up with the same lame presence as everyone else. Take the time to get creative and create a pattern interrupt.
Direct Mail: Follow up after the tradeshow with a two-tiered direct mail effort.
Tier 1: Legitimate Leads — This mailer is for people who are real prospects. They stopped by your booth, showed interest, and fit your customer profile. Send these people a handwritten note, relevant gift, or another item that further captures their attention and starts to build the relationship. Include one clear call to action in the mailer for the next step they need to take. This step alone captured three Fortune 500 companies for my last firm.
Tier 2: Show List — This mailer is for everyone who attended the show. You’d be shocked at how many people walked by your booth and may be interested, but they didn’t stop to talk for whatever reason. Use this timely mailer to establish awareness and include a clear call to action that delivers value. Make them take a simple step that can be tracked to receive whatever that valuable item is. If they take this action, you know they’re serious and you can move them into the tier 1 group.
Blogging: Post consistently to your blog and share with your network. Display your expertise and knowledge. Use your brand one-liner (script) that you created above as your editorial guide. Make sure everything you write relates to that single sentence. Continuously showcase your expertise and personality.
This is obviously a quick overview, but you get the idea. Your little niche is going to see you everywhere they look. You’ll go from zero awareness to industry fixture in months.
Marketing is key to driving awareness and trust, but there’s no substitute for sales efforts. The sales team are the hunters paired with the farmers in marketing. Being in sales requires thick skin and relentless execution. Put your ear to the phone, fingers on the keys, and your boots on the ground.
Sales aren’t dead as many have preached. I’d argue that an effective salesperson can be more useful today than at any time in history. It’s a matter of effectively complementing your marketing with the right sales efforts. Businesses don’t hire you, people hire you. People are influenced by emotion and relationships. Human interaction can be a powerful motivator. Learn how to leverage this to your benefit in sales.
If your organization properly implements a marketing plan as outlined above, you’ll be able to arm your salespeople with ripe leads. These salespeople will then be able to close these leads with a clear script that’s been provided in step 2. The combination of ongoing marketing cultivation with some human sales efforts leads to decision and action.
Step 4: Keep Showing Up
The final step is to continuously remind people that you exist. My weekly email has been a fantastic tool for keeping me relevant to clients and prospects. Projects that would have otherwise gone to someone else are shot my way because they remember I exist and they need help in an area where I have expertise.
Consistently execute a soft touch every single week. Don’t sell in this ongoing effort. Showcase your expertise.
Simply showing up is a big part of winning new business.
The Catch Is…
If you’re good at what you do, the saturation method will drive new business. The catch is that you have to actually start doing it now to see any benefit later. Commit to working on your business for at least 30 minutes every day. Build it into your daily activities no matter how good or bad things are going. That small 30-minute commitment adds up to significant progress and real money in the bank.
Every Friday morning I send a little story to your inbox. Each one contains a tip on how you can stand out and attract the right customers in this noisy world. You can end your week on a high note by signing up right here.