They Won’t Fit Into a Box

First you have to figure out who are the people, groups, industries that will reasonably connect with you.

That is a puzzle and takes a lot of testing and adjusting to find that mystical “target audience.”

Yet, even once you’ve found them, they remain squiggly and wriggly and hard to pin down.

So, of course, you can’t put all of humanity in your box: most of them will never care about you, your product or service or what you are trying to do. Regardless, of how much good you may be trying to do (insert your favorite charity here)

Now, the trap we often fall into is thinking that once we’ve found “our people” that they all will fit nice and tight and tidy into our organized, predictable box.

They won’t.

Consider putting them into sub-groups and adjust your message accordingly.

For a fun, teachable video on the subject, watch Malcolm Gladwell’s TedTalk on Tomato Sauce.

Family or Stranger

There’s a line between “family” and “stranger.” When you are in the customer service industry the goal is to be considered “family”, because, in most cases, we trust family, we listen to family, and we are more likely to do what family asks.

The stranger does not get that level of respect and if you are annoying, you are going to get moved farther and farther to the fringes of “stranger” to “alien” to “enemy”.

But you were only trying to sell them a pair of shoes!

How do you gain trust? By being helpful. By meeting a need. By suggesting a future solution with no strings attached.

A customer comes in the door. Do you stop, smile at them and say “Welcome” the same way you would if it was your favorite sister who stopped by unannounced.

Start there.

Learn their name.

Have an incentive program that rewards them for being a “part of your family.”

Make being loyal painless.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

It’s an old New York City joke and if I ever get to go to Carnegie Hall, I’m getting that t-shirt.
Many times, we want instant results. Quick turn hits that prove and grow our industry. The truth is that the best results come from steady, repeated practice with the smallest possible market possible.

Show up for those folks. Over and over and over again. Here’s something I want to challenge both of us to do for the rest of this month. Spend 1 hour a day doing those steady things that promote your business: make the calls, put up the flyers, do the work of letting people know what it is you do. Focus on the smallest group possible. If you are a baker, then focus on the 20 blocks around your bakery. If you are a plumber: take just one zip code.

And it’s not just a one-off, as in one set of flyers or direct mail door hangers. Do it. Measure it. Adjust it. Do it again. Did it work at all? Was it profitable? What one thing can I change and we measure if that makes it any more (or worse) successful.

How much money do you have for this endeavor? How much frequency are you going to get with your budget? That’s why you go small. No big ads. No billboards, unless perhaps it is the one in the center of your micro-target audience.

I hate math. It took me three tries to pass College Algebra. Yet math, my business compadres, can truly be our friend. Math provides data. Data shows results. Results are repeatable if you know what made them work.

Practice. Practice. Practice. You with me?