The following is our second installment of tips addressing ways you could be missing business opportunities without even realizing it. If you happened to miss Part 1, you can read it HERE.
9. Always being in a selling mode.
If you’re constantly hustling, you’ll eventually turn people off. Instead of coming off as 100% self-serving, try offering something of value that doesn’t cost them anything. There’s a time and place for everything. For example, LinkedIn is a great platform for networking, but not necessarily selling. People are there to learn. Spend your time there sharing helpful tips and advice. If there’s one thing that’s sure to annoy people, it’s asking them to join your network and then hitting them with a sales pitch within a nanosecond.
10. Spending too much time talking about yourself.
“We do this” and “We do that” is an ineffective way to connect with your prospects. Instead of shining a light on yourself, focus on them. Demonstrate that you understand their pain points and what keeps them up at night. They need to feel an emotional — maybe even empathetic — connection in your message. And convince them that you can make their lives easier. Until they feel that you care about them, they won’t care about you.
11. Choosing to follow others instead of carving out your own path.
Oscar Wilde once stated that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” You can learn a lot from your competition, but it’s not enough to be just like them. While it’s important to show that you belong, be sure to take every opportunity to distinguish your business from theirs. Instead of just joining the conversation, try driving it by adding your unique perspective. Your prospects will appreciate and remember your contributions.
12. Not referring business to others or requesting referrals from them.
Building an alliance of proven experts will help you augment areas outside of your own expertise and enable you to offer more to your customers. Networking is a great way to gain referrals. But, it’s not just about making connections to build your own business. It’s also about creating a network of credible professionals to help you fill organizational gaps and be able to confidently refer others. And, by doing so, they will reciprocate.
13. Doing just enough to get by.
Your competitors will always be more aggressive than you are. Well, maybe not all of them. But, if you adopt that mindset, you’ll never fall short of challenging yourself to be better. Remember, good enough is no longer good enough. Contentment leads to complacency, which undermines growth.
14. Doing your own marketing.
Unless you do it for a living, if you’re home-cooking your company’s marketing communications to save money, it will likely show. Remember, your competitors are likely hiring others to do theirs. Consider engaging an experienced professional to bring their skill set and experience to help you freshen things up. Doing so will also free-up your time to focus on what you do best and make money. If you can’t afford to pay others to step in, work out some trade or a payment plan. You might be surprised how willing people are to work with you.
15. Making assumptions about your audience.
When promoting your business, you need to understand how your market sees the world. You need to identify which emotional buttons to push; and you need to speak to them in their language. There are countless stories about those who had a great product, but took a “build-it-and-they-will-come” attitude. They assumed people would immediately get it. They assumed the product would sell itself. And a good portion of them ended up in bankruptcy court. It simply doesn’t work that way.
16. Resisting change instead of embracing it.
The success of your business relies greatly on your ability to be flexible within fluctuating markets and understand the changing tastes of your audience. There are far too many agents of influence to ever assume that you’re well-positioned for the long haul. Even global corporations have learned that they need to keep their fingers on the market pulse to not only adapt to change, but predict it. The good news is that this is mostly within your control. There’s a wealth of resources to help you identify new trends, gauge how they will impact your business and prepare for them. There should be few surprises as long as you’re paying attention and regularly engaging your customers.
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.