Wednesday Words

To Go Where Your VisionPoints, a few inspiration points for you and your business.

Your audience gives you everything you need. They tell you. There is no director who can direct you like an audience.
—Fanny Brice

Wondering how to increase your sales in a hurry? Need some direction?

This is top-secret homework I give to only my most ambitious, determined, rock-the-world clients, so we can work together to create their Maximum Customer Experience. I’m trusting you with this homework because you know, I’m obsessed with your success—and I know you’ll only pass this link along to those who really need to hear this secret, so they can grow their business starting today.

(Sounds like fluff, huh? Just try it. This is the real deal.)

It’s a surprisingly easy bit of homework that I do myself from time to time, as well. Yes, I regularly take my own advice—why not?

No. I’m not listening to your why-I-can’t. This will take less than 30 minutes, will improve your business tremendously, and may massively change your thinking. It’s no risk and high reward. You absolutely can—and you’ll thank me later.**

This afternoon, around 2 or 3 pm when business is usually quiet, grab a small notebook and a pencil and go to a business that fits your Ideal Customer description perfectly. Choose one that already uses a similar product or service if you can—this is important because you don’t want them to see themselves too closely in the questions you ask.

Introduce yourself. Explain that you’d like some advice and perspective, and that you only want ten minutes of their time. Most folks are flattered to be asked for their insights.* Tell them you have [X] years’ experience in what you do, and that you want to expand your business. (Try to stay light and funny, making a joke about getting advice after you’re already in the thick of things. Get them on your side.) Tell them very briefly what you’re planning with your business. One sentence.

Ask him or her only four questions:

(a)  what does he think would get a business that’s been sitting on the fence to change their mind about using your product or service;
(b)  what does he think your biggest barrier will be;
(c)  if he were searching for such a product or service online, what words and phrases might he use (or has he used) to look; and
(d)  what words and phrases would definitely hook him.

TAKE NOTES. Especially make note during any of the questions of particular words or phrases (the best ones will almost always come before you ask the “what words or phrases” questions, because that usually stymies people, but you never know).

It’s that easy.

Thank them for their time and walk away. No card or contact info unless they specifically ask. This is NOT a sales pitch, this is info-gathering.

Next, go through your notes with a fine-toothed comb. Look for key words, phrases, insights, and the general attitude of the person you interviewed. There’s a lot to be learned here, and you can put it to use right now.

You can use these notes:

to help you rewrite a sales page on your website;
to write a new brochure;
to make sure you’re selling what the Ideal Customer wishes he could buy, packaged so he recognizes it;
to target blog articles to the needs and thought processes of the Ideal Customer;
to refine your sales presentations.

Tomorrow, send him a thank-you note. On the reverse of the note, put your contact info. Don’t be in-your-face. This is not a sales pitch.

(Bonus: Do it three times today.)

Why? Because Ms. Brice was right: Your audience—the Ideal Customer—will give you everything you need if you know how to take direction.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

*Why this afternoon? Better to do it earlier in the week, when workloads are easier for most folks. Wednesdays are perfect. Also better to do this homework with little notice. Don’t give yourself time to think—just get out there today.

Should you make an appointment? No. Then (in their minds) it’s a sales call. Which it’s not, remember.

If you phone them, they can say no, or they can work up defenses before you walk in and make the talk pretty useless. I’d rather see you walk in and ask if you can pick their brains for ten minutes (use flattery! — “because you’re well-established here, because I know you know the business community like the back of your hand, because I’ve known you and spent my money here forever” —a bit of guilt too), at a time of day when they’re likely to be just bored enough to say yes to giving advice to a bold pup like you.

If you run into someone who’s not flattered and willing to spare just a few minutes, move on. It’s not a sales call. So there’s no need to feel rejected, okay?

Feel free to leave a comment below about all the reasons you can’t do this. But remember, I’m not listening!   🙂

**If you do decide to interview an Ideal Customer or three today, and you don’t want to leave your “Wow, this really was a revolution!” comment here, feel free to email me: kellye (at) visionpoints (dot) net. I would love to hear your success story!