A couple of nights ago I started reading “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. I’m only about 30 pages into it, and I already love it. As I glean great info from Porter’s sage advice, I’ll dispense some of it here. There are two concepts he talks about in the beginning that I think a lot of small business owners need to embrace.
1. What “Sales and Marketing” really is?
Do you sometimes feel like getting people to book you is like pulling teeth? Do you feel like you have to coerce your prospects, or worse, give away the farm just to get their business? If so, chances are you don’t have the right prospects in front of you. Sales and marketing is not about casting a wide net, just to get a warm body in your place of business or to call you. It’s about finding the right prospects and putting your message in from of them. How many of you are placing ads in every magazine and website that reaches your target audience, getting lots of hits, but no bites? You have to think “focus” and think strategically.
For us, by far, networking with other vendors and businesses who already work with the clients we want to work with has been the best source of finding new business. Not to say advertising in and of itself is bad, but I think most small businesses who advertise don’t really understand the best use of that advertising. They then get disappointed when leads don’t to convert to sales. Rather than fish in the ocean, find yourself the right pond and fish there.
2. The Velvet Rope Policy
Second, Michael talks about adopting a velvet rope policy. Who do you let past the “velvet rope,” and who is left standing in the cold. Basically, not everyone who walks into your studio or office should be your client. You need to zero in on not just who your target market is, but within that target, who’s your ideal client. The client that makes you think, “Wow, I can’t believe we get paid to do work with this client.” (We’re doing a job for Apple right now and that’s precisely how I feel.) You don’t want to have the kind of client that sucks the life out of you. Come on. You know who I’m talking about. We’ve all had them. Michael even goes so far as to say any clients you have like that now, you should drop. Something to think about.
I’m reading some more tonight. Stay tuned for more juicy tidbits. If you’d rather read it yourself, buy the book.