I was conference coaching at the SOHO Toronto Small Business event this past month where I had the pleasure of coaching small business owners 15 minutes at a time. Almost all of them unanimously agreed that their biggest problem was lack of new clients. Most of them were getting some referrals but they felt like their biz was going to be in trouble if they didn’t fix their marketing.
Here are some questions I asked to determine if their biz was truly in trouble due to bad marketing:
How Many People Ask You “How Much Is It to Work with/Buy from you” per week?
In order to see the cause and the scope of the issue, my first question to small businesses are how many leads are they getting? My definition of a lead is someone who is interested enough in working with you to actually ask you how much your services or products cost.
During the conference coaching, I found that some businesses were getting around 10 inquiries per week. In other businesses, people had trouble doing the math since they didn’t even get a single person per week asking. This is a lead generation problem. This means your marketing isn’t working. Either your targeting is off, your messaging doesn’t resound or you are hanging around the wrong places to market.
How Many Of Those People Are You Converting To Clients?
If you have lots of leads but you’re still growing too slowly, this is a sales issue. It means that you demonstrated enough value for potential clients to take time out of their busy day to actually ask you how much you charge. However, if once you state your price—no matter what that price is; you are losing them at the close-this is a sales issue. Closing is an art in and of itself. People can be dying for your services but also dying from the fear of spending money on it. It is your job in the close to coach them through that fear and instill trust in them for you. If you don’t know how to do this, hire someone to teach you. This is a learned skill.
Who Is Your Real Idea Target Client?
If you don’t really know this, your biz is definitely in trouble. The job of your marketing is very simple: it’s to get you in front of people in pain with respect to what you can help them with and telling them how you can help them. If you are getting in front of the right kind of people then you have plenty of leads. I don’t know how many times I’ve done my elevator speech (short intro of what you do speech) and people have wanted to talk to me or have coffee with me. Your marketing has to be based on a very specific kind of ideal client who has a very specific kind of pain. If you don’t know who that is, spend some time and energy figuring it out.
What Are You Doing In Your Marketing Now?
This question tells me a lot about a small business. Either they’re doing too much or nothing at all in their marketing. The companies that are doing too much are hurting because they’re marketing to the wrong niche and saying the wrong things to them while hanging out in the wrong places to meet their ideal niche. The companies that are doing nothing are so confused and overwhelmed about the available marketing tools out there that they simply don’t do anything. Either way, there is help for both type of small business. Once a business figures out their ideal client, what their pain is, what to say to them and where to find them, then leads start coming in.
So don’t let your small biz be in trouble, get your marketing moving and your profits (and you) will be healthier for it.
Want to find out if the market needs you? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk