Bust the Cycle: End Feast or Famine and Get Consistent First-Rate Clients
- Dov Gordon
Is your business stuck in the feast-or-famine cycle?
One day, you have more work than you can handle. You’re staying up late, working too many hours, destroying your health in a desperate effort to meet deadlines. You barely have a minute to breathe – let alone market.
But when you finally finish all the projects and send all the invoices, you’re left with…
nothing. Crickets. Your business is dead in the water, and you’ve got no work coming in at all.
Panicked, you start marketing again. Slowly, things pick up, and soon you’re once again scrabbling to meet deadlines. You stop marketing. And the cycle starts over.
It’s a common problem. To break out of it, you’ll need to learn a different approach to marketing: one that brings you a consistent flow of first-rate clients.
There’s a better way. What you need is a system that brings you the right clients all the time, so you can feel confident that new work is coming when you need it. That’s exactly what building an audience-based business is all about, and it’s also what Dov Gordon teaches.
Dov is a master of client attraction, and right now, he’s giving away the ebook that he uses for his coaching clients – the manual that lays the foundation for a strategy of client attraction.
Here at Firepole, we love Dov’s method – so much that we got his permission to publish the first two chapters of the book. If you like this, you’ll love the rest of the book!
Chapter 1: The Clearest Thinker Makes the Sales
Clarity is Power. Clarity is Influence. Clarity Attracts Clients.
Imagine you have a 30 minute commute to work each day. You follow the same route over the same roads and get stuck by the same red lights every day.
One morning, when you’re half way to your office, I call you up and say, “Hey buddy, quick, get off at the next exit onto Ocean Road!”
“Ocean Road!” you think to yourself. “That will add another 30 minutes to my commute!” You do NOT want to be in the car for an extra 30 minutes.
So you ask me: “WHY should I get off at Ocean Road?!”
“Because I know you take this route every morning. Today I happen to be driving in the opposite direction and I just saw a terrible crash two miles past the Ocean Road exit. Traffic on your side is not moving. If you don’t get off at Ocean Road you’ll be sitting there for much of the morning.”
And so you get off at Ocean Road.
* * *
Attracting ideal clients is simple. It’s about showing how your product, service or idea will give your client what he ALREADY wants.
So to make a sale:
(1) Learn what they want.
(2) Show them how your product and service gives it to them.
(3) Systematize so you can scale up and leverage.
In the scenario above, you wanted to get to your office as quickly as possible. As soon you saw how my Ocean Road advice would get you what you wanted faster than your original plan, you traded your plan for mine.
That’s what all selling is about – showing your client that if he trades his plan for yours, he’ll finally get what he really wants.
* * *
Does your business give you more freedom – or frustration? When you have all the first-rate clients you could want, your business can give you freedom. Otherwise, you’re guaranteed an endless supply of frustration.
The only way to create a steady and predictable flow of amazing clients is by building a step-by-step marketing and selling system.
This manual will help you build a simple, yet devastatingly effective, marketing and selling system because you will learn:
- Your customer’s changing psychological needs as he decides whether or not to buy from you or not.
- Exactly what to do and say at every stage to fill each need.
In this manual, I’m talking to you the business owner, the entrepreneur. But if you have employees or sales people, everything here applies to them just the same. Have them read it and work through the exercises with you.
* * *
The Map in Your Customer‘s Mind
Moving a prospect along from Stranger to Happy Client is a journey that has a beginning, a middle and an end.
This journey takes place in your client’s mind.
There are psychological stages he MUST pass through, or he won’t buy. When you know these stages and build your marketing and selling system around them, you seem like a wunderkind. When you don’t, it feels like an endless hike in the wrong size shoes.
* * *
Think about it.
In all but the easiest sales, your customer knows what he wants. He wants to continue on with his life, deal with his problems – or avoid them; he knows his obstacles, frustrations and aspirations. And by default, he has decided to continue on the path he’s on until he sees a really good reason to veer from it.
In short, his next step is very clear: Don’t buy.
And here you are. You want him to veer from what he knows and buy your product or service. But your product introduces questions, worries and uncertainties where just a few minutes ago he was OK, even if not all that content.
There is a process for buying and a process for not buying. Before you show up, your customer clearly sees the process for not buying. In order to make a sale, you need to make the process for buying even clearer and more enticing.
Isn’t that what I did when I advised you to get off at Ocean Road?
The ONLY way you’re going to do this if your understanding of your customer’s needs, wants, aspirations, fears, etc. is clear, deep and specific.
But most business owners think they understand their customers because they have statistics or market “research.” But the guy in front of youdoesn’t care about research and statistics.
If you’re making shallow guesses and broad generalizations, you won’t really know what to do and say. When you make a sale, it’ll be more luck than design. The unfortunate thing about lucky sales is that they’re few and far between. And you can’t systematize them and build leverage into your business.
* * *
Again: In order for this customer to buy from you, she needs to clearly see that your product or services is exactly what she was wanting all along.
For this to happen, there are several psychological stages she needs to pass through. She may not know it consciously. But YOU need to see them and base every action, question, response on where she is now on the “map”(which you’ll learn in a moment) and what the next step needs to be.
In the end, whoever is clearer will walk away with the money. If your prospect is clearer on the process of NOT buying –she’ll take her money with her. If you are clearer on the process of buying –she’ll happily trader her money for your product.
Few entrepreneurs ever see their customer’s world that clearly. But you –you’re reading this. You’re different. In this manual I’m going to give you what you need to go out there with superior clarity for every step of your company’s sales process.
Chapter 2: Get This One Thing Clear and You’ll be Ahead of 90% of Your Competitors
Years ago my brother-in-law was driving across the U.S. with a friend. After half a day of driving through the Midwest, they pulled over at a truck stop to rest and stretch their legs.
They were getting back into the car when a middle-aged man came up to them.
“Hey, fellas, can I have a lift?”
“Where do you need to go?”
“Sorry, we’re going to LA.”
“Hey, that’s good too.”
They looked at each other. There was no way they wanted to be stuck in a car for the next few days with someone who had no idea where he was going.
“Uh, sorry bro. It ‘aint gonna work. Maybe the guy behind us is going to New York.”
They left the poor guy at the curb.
* * *
There’s one thing above all else that must be crystal clear. It’s the answers to:
“Where are you going?”
“What’s your objective?”
“What do you want to accomplish?”
You’d think it would be easy for us humans to clearly know what we want. Funny enough, most people find it darn hard. (Not so funny, really. The simple skill I’m about to teach you can erase a lot of misery very quickly.)
Consider this: In an exercise a client of mine did as part of our work together, he wrote out two objectives he wanted to accomplish in his company.
Objectives / Desired Results:
- To intensify dialogue with supplier partners and work on relationships.
- To travel with new purchasing staff to meet supplier and guide into stronger dialogue; to see new purchasing person look after this job following up through Skype, emails and phone conversations.
Can you spot the problem? There’s not a result to be found. These don’t describe the outcomes he wants. These are all means to an end. But we don’t know what he really wants and why!
And this client is not alone. Every day I’m pointing out to clients – all very bright people – that they’re talking about the means (or the how, an activity, etc.) before they’ve specified the WHAT, the outcome, the result, the goal.
Have a look at another set of objectives, from the same client after I pointed out the flaw in his first reply. How did he do this time?
Objectives / Desired Outcomes:
- To shorten production time by 4 working days.
- To drop pricing by 10%.
Much better. These answers are all about outcomes, WHAT will change.
Once your desired results are clear, then your next step is to figure out HOW you’ll achieve your shortened production time and lower prices.
Taking your production staff to meet your suppliers might be a good idea. But it is just one possible ‘means’ or route to the true goal of shortening production time by 4 working days.
When I teach clear thinking skills to students in my Plenty of Clients™ coaching programs the first skill we learn, and the skill we build everything on afterwards, is the skill of describing the results you want so clearly that there’s no room for question or misunderstanding.
Now, I know, this doesn’t sound very difficult, right? But it IS. Look around you and listen to what people say. You’ll notice that most of the goals people talk about are really not goals at all. They are ACTIVITIES. Things to be DONE, rather than RESULTS to be achieved.
Even more interesting is how people tell you what they don’t want when you ask them what they want.
Learning to see the distinction between WHAT and HOW is a tremendously important skill that forms the foundation of the sales system you’re about to build. So I’m going to share with you some of what we do in the high-end Plenty of Clients™Mastery Program.
The What vs. How Map
If you’re talking about an action or an activity, you’re talking about a MEANS to an end. If you’re talking about what will CHANGE, what be different, then you’re talking about a goal, an outcome, a result.
Reflect on this for a moment. Most people mix these up so they’re unclear, waste time and lose sales.
Your prospect will almost always ask for a means. Your job is to uncover the ends they want. Then show how your product will help him get what he wants.
Notice that I call this little diagram, and the others like it, a “map.” Why a map?
Because just like you can’t be in New York and Los Angeles at the same time, you can‘t be talking about What and How at the same time. If you’re here, you’re not there. And I want you to really understand that these are literally two different “geographic” locations. Just like two points on a map.
* * *
Few of us have thought through what we really want to accomplish. So when you invest some time and brain cells to get your desired results clear, you’re creating a winning advantage. I’m soon going to show you how to do this in the context of marketing and selling.
Your prospect is also usually not so clear about what he wants. Through your questions, you help him clarify that for himself. And you then show you your product or service will give him what he really wants.
* * *
Of course, these are only the first two chapters of Dov’s manual. There’s a lot more inside “How to Systematically and Consistently Attract First-Rate Clients.” There’s all kinds of information and ways to break out of the feast or famine cycle.
But like us, Dov doesn’t believe in miracle pills or quick fixes. His suggestions will take some time and learning to implement, but they are definitely worth it!