There’s no shortage of online advice about prospecting and how to grow your sales. What you don’t hear much about are the ways in which you may have created barriers to them. What if you already have two strikes against you before a prospect takes your call? Instead of offering tips to get more clients, we’re putting a bit of a twist on things by suggesting ways you could be losing them without even realizing it.
1. Promoting your business as a “one-stop shop.”
Stop trying to be all things to all people. No business is great at everything. Focus on what you do best, stake your claim, build on it and back it up with results and satisfied customers. We’re not suggesting that you should present yourself as a one-trick pony. Instead, use what you’re truly great at as your marketing foundation and reinforce it with everything else that adds value. Don’t claim to be what you’re not. Embrace what you are and why that’s important to your market.
2. Telling people you’re the best.
Reality check: Consumers are smart. Inauthenticity can be spotted from a mile away. There can only be one best and you’re likely not it. Don’t take it personally. Just accept that fact and focus on why you’re the better choice. Show your prospects how you do things differently and why it matters to them. Then make your case by distinguishing yourself in a positive way that is believable and easy to digest.
3. Saying, “Yes,” to everything.
Avoid setting unrealistic expectations that are difficult to fulfill. We’re not suggesting that you shouldn’t be aspirational. Just don’t go overboard. We often get requests that we cannot completely honor by ourselves. Instead of trying to sell clients a bill of goods and then scrambling to figure out how to deliver it, we tell them what we can do well, recommend trusted colleagues who can fill the gaps, and offer to manage the entire process on their behalf. You might be surprised how refreshing a client or prospect finds that level of humility.
4. Having a second-rate website.
In many ways, your website is the face of our business. It’s usually your first and best opportunity to showcase your work, connect with your prospects and tell your story. If it’s not engaging, well-designed, easy to navigate, informative and technically sound, it could undermine your marketing efforts and drive people away. If you have a first-rate business, don’t let a second-rate website undermine it. Learn more about 15 ways your website could be hurting your business and what you can do about it.
5. Showing a lack of attention to detail.
Let’s face it, nobody is perfect. We’re all human. Mistakes are perfectly acceptable, but not a lot of them. An occasional typo is forgivable. A pattern of them, not so much. By showing such a lack of attention to detail in your own work, how can you expect your prospects to be confident that you won’t do the same for them?
6. Not soliciting testimonials.
Nothing promotes your business better than the words of others. Client testimonials and their success stories are some of your best marketing tools. If you’re doing a good job, why not say it through the words of your satisfied customers? Get comfortable with requesting client reviews for your website. Then, if they have a Google account, request that they post them online as Google Reviews. This is low-hanging fruit and a missed opportunity if you’re not taking advantage of positive results.
7. Ignoring negative reviews.
Of course, online reviews can be a double-edged sword. If you have the misfortune of receiving a negative one, the best you can do is to respectfully and quickly respond to it and offer to make amends. This demonstrates that you’re willing to own up to your mistakes (we all make them) and learn from them. By ignoring them, you’re sending a message that you simply don’t care.
8. Never sharing your expertise.
You have a lot to offer. Nobody has your unique business experiences. Why not share them? Using your subject matter expertise to help educate others is a powerful tactic of indirectly promoting your business. It’s a great way to maintain awareness, build your brand and stay relevant. Even if your audience isn’t looking to buy, when they are ready, they’ll likely recall those who helped them along the way. You should be one of the first who comes to mind.
We’ll be following up with more tips, so be sure to check back for part 2. In the meantime, take a step back and try to objectively see your business they way others see it. Remember, perception is everything. Try to uncover opportunities to avoid misperceptions and confusion about what makes your business truly great, and see where you might be falling short of distinguishing yourself.
Oh, look, Part 2 is now available.
I recently visited the websites of some of the top design firms in the world. It was both inspiring and, truth be told, slightly intimidating. However, despite that, I did notice one consistent problem with a majority of them.
In many ways, your website is the face of our business. It’s usually your first and best opportunity to distinguish yourself, connect with your prospects and tell your story. If it’s not engaging, well-designed, easy to navigate and informative, it could undermine your marketing efforts.
We’ve collected a number of the more salient points from our blog and are presenting them as a marketing reality check list. A good number of these apply to new or small businesses. But you’ll also find that some of the largest corporations in the world make many of the same missteps.