When we chase potential customers for business, they respond with the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism we each were born with. Try changing how you think about customers, in other words your mindset towards them, if you’re not attracting as many customers as you’d like to your small business.
Many small business owners rely on an old sales formula of selling, rather than helping customers solve a problem – the difference between these two positions is vast.
That’s why publicity is an important tool in helping small business owners communicate clearly what they’re offering by seeing their products or services through the eyes of their customer. When we think of advertising or marketing, mostly it’s a ‘push’ mentality involving what the benefits of your product or service are. With publicity though, we have the chance to connect with customers through personal stories and tools that help make a strong believable connection.
Customers Want Solutions
Customers want solutions to their problems, they want evidence that your solution works and they want to know you’re a professional who can help them. Approaching customers with this mindset helps position you more positively in their minds.
Changing our mindset towards customers establishes greater trust and helps small business owners understand their role as expert or adviser – not salesperson.
The average small business owner is hard working, focused, passionate – but they’re so often in tune with what they’re selling that they forget the customer, their needs and the fact that building trust happens before any sale occurs.
Don’t Chase Business, Attract It
The problem is that many small business owners are set up to fail from the start because they spend their time chasing business that wants to avoid being ‘sold’ to.
It’s understandable, it’s what we all initially think selling is about – sprucing self-worth, promoting products and services and finding ways to talk about what ‘we do’.
But this usually achieves zero results as clients feel hunted. It’s Jungle Survival 101: If Being Chased – Run!
While it may sound obvious, we all fall into the trap in the beginning and push ourselves on unwary customers who retreat – the result? Frustration, disappointment and stress as our business doesn’t do as well as we hope for.
The good news is that we can change this as our business is under our control – no-one else’s.
It’s a matter of changing what we do and how we approach people.
Be a Professional and Share Your Value
Everything is about choice – the choice to offer value, the choice to attract customers, the choice to act as a professional.
But things usually don’t change as we’re often too close to see what the problem is; or, we just choose not to take responsibility for finding better ways of doing business.
This is about choosing how we manage business and life. It’s about making a deliberate choice that brings a strong focus and attention to how we see ourselves and ultimately how our clients see us.
This is the time to stop seeing clients as creatures to hunt down and drag home for shelving as trophies. It’s about attracting clients because of our expert status, our professionalism and the value we offer.
Once we accept this – and truly own this space – we display a confidence where genuine trust and value is what clients experience – and they stop feeling ‘hunted’.
The focus changes from ‘where will I find my next client’ to radiating success because the space we work in is ours – we’re experts in what we do, we have experience to prove it and we offer so much more value than competitors that clients can’t help be attracted.
Mindset is the foundation – it’s the key to business growth.
How to Change Your Mindset – and Your Customers’
Follow these six steps to change not only your mindset, but that of your customers as well.
1. Adopt an ‘expert’ mentality.
Become the go-to person as your knowledge, expertise and experience in your area sets you apart. Read, learn, discover everything on your topic and share the knowledge as often as you can. Being an ‘authority’ is very attractive to customers and helps build trust.
2. Connect to the emotional aspect of your client’s problem.
Research shows that we ‘buy with our hearts and justify (later) with our brain’ so understand the emotional pain or need behind your client’s biggest problem and connect to the emotional benefit they’ll receive from solving the problem. People want to find reasons to buy – help them by framing your product or service’s feature in emotional terms.
3. Share your own story
Tell customers how you solved similar problems and came to where you are now with your particular way of doing things or your system that turned your life around. People resonate with success stories and relate more. People want to be around people they like, by sharing your back story people warm to you and this is a major obstacle in sales – if they can’t relate to you, they won’t buy.
4. Use ‘reciprocity’ to attract people – giving a little, returns to you.
It helps show people that you are genuine, trustworthy and can offer value. Whether it’s a try before you buy, free resources or additional bonuses the concept of giving in business should be a cornerstone of your work.
5. Remove any fear from a sale by offering a 100% guarantee if customers are not satisfied.
Fear stops most purchases – the worry that they may pay too much, not gain enough value or be conned in some way holds people back from making decisions. Help them overcome this by offering a guarantee.
6. Use testimonials.
Knowing others have gained value from what you do helps bridge the gap between ‘know, like and trust’. Testimonials are powerful sales tools that share stories – one of the most powerful mediums we can use in business . These six steps are core essentials in attracting clients. Our mindset and how we approach customers is everything.
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.