As hard as many business owners try to grow their business to its maximum potential, there are always barriers that do get in the way such as us focusing on administrative tasks rather than growing the business, location over-exposure, or just operational problems.
However what if you don’t have any of those common problems and your primary problem for expansion actually lie within the hands of your customers? How do you grow your business if your operation is running smoothly but you just can’t connect with your customers or get them to take an action?
The answer lies in giving away the house in order to build a mansion. Before we get into this concept let’s look at the five stages that your customer has to go through so that you can build your business.
I will pre-prep you here: having a list of potential customers is a license to print money. When you have a list of dedicated and committed customers that will follow you to the end of the earth (think Apple), you can just release something new or create a sale and more than likely there will be buzz and people will be antsy to get a hold of it.
Steps that are in our control are steps 1, 2, and 4. We are able to bring awareness to the customer, present an offer, and build the relationship over time. However, there are external steps that are out of our control such as steps 3 and 5.
Your Goal: Build the Relationship
You can see that in this diagram there are five main stages the customer has to go through. You can not jump from stage 1 to stage 4, they must be done in sequence. Think of it in terms of the dating relationship. You cannot just go up to someone and propose if you just met them for the first time. Logically it does not make sense and your rejection probability is extremely high. Even if they say yes, it probably won’t last.
The same thing happens in business. You want to build your relationship over time as much is possible this way in the future when you release new products, have new sales, or present a new offer to your customers they are more likely to jump on it as quickly as possible. Your goal is to build the relationship as much as you can.
How to Build the Relationship: Reciprocity
One of my favorite ways to build the relationship is through the act of kindness or reciprocity. You give people something and they give you something in return. When it comes to business you may give them a free video, an article, a DVD program, it could be a cheese sample or product sample which many stores do. What you give them is not as important as how you make them feel. Now if you do give them something that is related to your business then you are more likely to attract targeted customers rather than just general people. So I highly recommend give them a demo of your product, even if it’s a sample because now you have tapped into them building a relationship with you.
Either before they get your sample, during, or after your product sample (or whatever your incentive was) aim to collect an asset. By asset, I mean something of value such as e-mail address, a phone number, or a regular address. It will be your gateway to building the relationship in the future. **I like using Aweber for managing my email lists**
The whole concept here is you giving them something of value and in exchange, they are giving something of value (their information) or a way for you to connect with them.
Keep Adding Value Until the Customer is Dying to Give You Their Information
Here is where the hard part is. What if you have given a sample product demo, and tried to present some incentive but people do not want to give you their address, phone number, or even email address? May you be wondering whats the problem here?
Often times the offer or incentive you presented is not valuable enough (or it could be unrelated to something they desire). Therefore you may need to increase the value until it hits a tipping point and triggers an action. Think of this as a see-saw concept.
You keep stacking on the see-saw your value and keep adding value until it goes “clunk.” When it goes clunk then the customer information goes up in the air and gets handed to you where you can catch it.
Think of it this way, if you are asking a friend to runs of the grocery store and buy you milk and eggs for $1 – they probably won’t do it because it’s not worth it. When you offer $15, they may now start to debate things and contemplate on doing it. Offer $500 for running to the store and more likely the see-saw will clunk and your friend will be out the door very quickly!
Giving Away the House to Build a Mansion
Remember that when you are first starting to grow your business that one of your initial goals is to collect information and assets from your prospects such as an e-mail address, phone number, regular address, or credit card information.
If you can’t do this by offering simple and small samples, or people are reluctant to provide their information for giving them a free video, you need to up the ante. You need to offer much more value to them so they are more likely to trigger and crave to give you their information. Sometimes it will be by giving away your product so that we in the future when you make another product you have a customer base.
This is what I mean when I say give away the house (or the product you thought about selling) in order to build the customer base so this way in the future you can create other offers to a customer base that you know is already interested in you or your products.
You will then either time, money, or energy to acquire a customer. Depending on the resources that you have available at your disposal – that is the one that should focus on the use as much you can.
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