Editor’s Note: We originally published this post by Dov Gordon in 2012. But after the success of his recent post on ending the feast or famine cycle to get consistent clients, this post was too important to hide in our archives. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did!
Not about everything, mind you. Just where I’ve paid the price and earned the right to my opinions. Like about how to build a steady, consistent, predictable flow of amazing customers and clients.
I’ve paid my dues.
I know what it’s like to have so much to offer, and so few clients. I know what it’s like to work hard on marketing a project… and make just one sale. To sit facing someone you know you can help, but lack the words to help them see it.
I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning with a calling inside, desperate to get out. And to know that as hard as I work today, it will probably lead to the same disappointment as yesterday.
I know what it’s like to squeak by with just enough success to stay in the game. To see the omens telling you “Keep at it. Soon, soon, it will all come together.” To believe in your eventual success and vindication, but to also be paralyzed by self-doubt. To feel like a rocket, with boosters blazing and nowhere to go.
I also know what it’s like to have ‘figured it out’…
Not ‘all’ of it, of course. No one ever figures it ‘all’ out. But I’m fortunate in that I’ve figured out what it takes to create that consistent, predictable customer flow. Both for myself, and for my own clients.
Which is why you should listen to my opinions. Because I can help you shave a couple of years off your own learning curve.
The first thing you need to know is:
Beware the Marketing Plumbers
Imagine you approach Joe the plumber and you say “Joe, build me a house.” What’s he going to say?
“Umm, sorry. I don’t build houses. Get yourself an architect who’ll draft the blueprint. Then get a contractor who’ll put up the frame. Then I’ll give you the best plumbing in town. But I don’t build houses.”
Joe the plumber understands his role. He knows that he only brings a piece of the puzzle.
Unfortunately, the marketing plumbers out there are not so self-aware.
A marketing plumber is anyone who is an expert at a piece of the puzzle, but thinks he can build the whole house. They usually promote a tactic as if it were the full picture.
They’re the LinkedIn experts. And the Facebook experts. And the AdWords experts. And the SEO experts. And the networking experts. And the telemarketing experts. And the press release experts. You get the idea.
These are just a few of the dozens of methods you can use to get the attention of your ideal clients. And for each method, you have a long line of experts claiming that their tactic of choice is the one that everyone needs to be doing.
Hooey. And my proof? Your own experience is probably proof enough. If not, just talk to a few friends who’ve spent thousands of dollars with a marketing plumber and gotten very little return.
They’re good people and they mean well. It’s just that they don’t see what Joe the plumber sees: they only know a piece of the puzzle. And so they sell themselves as having it all.
What matters is not the tactic or method that you use. Each tactic is merely a way of getting in front of your ideal clients with a message what they will provoke them to respond.
Every method works sometimes and fails others. So the question isn’t “What tactic should I use?” The question you need to ask is “Why does any tactic work when it works and why does it fail when when it flops?”
The secret is simple: Every tactic is simply a method for putting your message in front of your ideal client. If your message correctly answers the three questions they’re asking themselves, they’ll want to talk to you. If not, they click and scuttle along.
3 Questions to a Consistent Customer Flow
The first question your prospects ask is “Should I pay attention to you? Is what you’re saying interesting to me?” They ask this about your ad. Your LinkedIn Groups post. Your tweet. Your Facebook status. You press release. Their question is always the same.
If they conclude that yes, what you’re saying is interesting, then they have a second question: “Can I trust you? Are you for real?”
Again, if they conclude that yes, they can trust you. Yes, you know what you’re talking about. They now have a third and final question:
“But can you help me? Do you understand my situation? What would you recommend for me?”
The good news is that once you understand what gets people to say “Yes!” to these three questions, all your marketing becomes much, much easier.
Getting a “Yes!” to Question #1: “Is it [your marketing] interesting to me?”
There are only two things your ideal clients are interested in. And if you’re talking about one of them in your marketing, regardless of the tactic you choose, you’ll get their interest.
The two things they are interested in are the same two things you and I are interested in. Because all of us are only interested in the following two things:
- Getting rid of a problem you have and don’t want and / or
- Creating a result that you want and don’t have.
If you’re marketing talks about a problem he has and doesn’t want, your ideal client will take notice and be interested. If it’s talking about a result, or a change he wants and doesn’t have, he’ll be interested. If you’re talking about anything else – like yourself, your credentials, your quality, your brilliance, etc. – he will click and scuttle away.
Getting a “Yes!” to Question #2: “Can I trust you?”
There are a number of ways to earn customer trust. Perhaps the most common is to give them a free or low priced taste.
This is very common on the Internet. But more people do this wrong than do it right.
What you give away MUST be an answer to the problem they have and don’t want and / or enable the result they want and don’t have. Otherwise you’ll quickly lose the attention you worked so hard to earn.
Getting a “Yes!” to Question #3: “But can you help me? Do you understand my situation? What do you recommend for me?”
These questions are often asked in a one on one consultation. You’ll only get a ‘Yes!’ here if your prospect feels that you really, deeply understand him.
The most common mistake I see people making here is moving too quickly to talk about your product or service. Your prospect will often drop a land mine – and the average marketer steps right on it.
Your prospect will ask questions like “How much is it?” Or “How do you work?” Or “Can you give me a proposal?”
The tricky thing is that they almost always ask these questions before they’re ready to hear your answer. They ask them before they have that feeling that “Wow, you really understand me. Finally, someone who can help me.”
To get a ‘Yes!’ to their third question you must resist – and NOT talk about your product or service – too soon!
The Good News, and the Bad
And there you have it. When you’ve worked out simple, clear answers to these three questions, pretty much any tactic will work for you. And if you haven’t, anything you do is a waste of time and money.
Can you hire this work out? My opinion? No. You may need help developing really good answers to these three questions. But if you try to hire someone to do it for you – as opposed to with you – you’ll be disappointed. I guarantee it.
The good news – it really is simple. Slow down long enough to do what I’ve advised you here and you’ll quickly have a steady, consistent, predictable flow of new customers and consistent client attraction. No matter what tactics you choose to use.
How have you generated a consistent flow of customers? Or, if you haven’t arrived there yet, which of these tactics is the best starting place for you? Let me know in the comments!