Here’s to 2015, everyone; let’s make it the best year ever.
In You Schmooze You Win, I discussed how my most successful clients have all been involved in the selling of their product/service. Apparently, to make a lot of money, the owner of a business must spend most of his/her time selling.
But I hate to sell; I am the opposite of a salesperson. How un-salesy am I? I have gone to the same gym for 13 years. I see hundreds of people almost daily and only three of them know that I run my own business. Those three people asked me what I do for a living and I told them. I am a sales failure.
So I’ve been paying attention to exactly what my successful clients do that I don’t do, and here is the secret: They Go After The Big Fish. They figure out what companies can benefit from their product/service, and they go after the biggest ones.
- They focus on business as opposed to individuals, because businesses spend more money. B2B, baby.
- They know their own business enough to understand what companies are likely potential clients.
- They do research to determine the largest business that might become a client.
That’s step one, figuring out which Big Fish to go after, and although it’s deliberate, it’s not salesy. I can do that. Step two is a little less comfy.
- They go to Chamber of Commerce meetings, networking meetings, and any events where ANYONE from their Big Fish company might be.
- They make a point to meet anyone from their Big Fish Company
- They follow-up: they call or email the people they met. They also make sure to attend future meetings, renew the contact, and persist until they have built a relationship. Sometimes this takes years; they persist.
To me, this is all doable. It’s not as salesy as I had feared. It’s deliberate and focused, but I can do that. If I can do it, you can too. Let’s go find some Big Fish and reel them in!
So here’s my take on the whole “under promise, over deliver” axiom: If I order something and they tell me to expect it in two weeks, but I get it in a week, I am thrilled. (They under promised and over delivered.) If they tell me to expect it in three days, but I get it in a week, I am angry. (They OVER promised and UNDER delivered.) Either way, I got it in a week. It’s just a matter of my expectations.
The baker who throws a 13th roll into your bag knows all about over delivering. So does the etsy artist who sends your new earrings wrapped in adorable packaging. They make you feel good by giving you a little something extra. And when it’s time for you to buy rolls or earrings again, you’ll likely reward them with another order.
When you are negotiating a deal with a client, be very sure you can keep your promises, no matter what calamities may arise. Often, the best way to do this is to give yourself a little wiggle room with the timing. And whether it’s about delivery, quantity, quality, presentation, or sparkling customer service; try to think of some ways to offer a little extra value to your customers. They will thank you with loyalty.