Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with thousands and literally thousands of small to medium-sized business owners. Over those years, I’ve got a pretty good insight into the way that people think about their marketing and about their sales. There are some common mindsets that I see coming up time and time again with small business owners that are actually damaging and affect the way their businesses grow.
So I want to run through those five things with you.
Mindset Mistake 1: Expecting An Instant Return On Marketing Spend
Now, number one, the first thing is expecting an instant return on your marketing spend, or you’re marketing investments. So judging every kind of marketing decision on, “Will it make money straight away?”
Now firstly, every time you invest in marketing, you should be measuring the result and seeing how effective it is and seeing if it produces a return.
So I absolutely believe that marketing should produce returns. But it’s quite rare for marketing campaigns to produce an immediate return. In fact, in many industries it rarely, if ever, happens at all.
The thing to understand when you’re evaluating the return on investment with marketing campaigns is the lifetime value of your customers. In other words, how much a customer will spend with you over time and what you want to look at is how much it costs to acquire a new customer.
So years and years ago, I had someone who had spent 500 pounds on an advert and they thought it was a complete waste of time because they only got one customer from it.
Now that customer has been with them for 10 years, spending on average 50,000 pounds a year. So from a 500-pound advert, they had made all of that in terms of revenue, profit, the opportunity to get word of mouth business, etc, etc, from that one 500-pound advert.
You have to look at marketing results in the long term, not in the short term, especially in many business-to-business environments where you can have customers for years and years and years, spending tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds potentially with you.
So if on average an account spends 100 grand a year with you. It’s well worth spending 10 grand on an advertising campaign or marketing campaign that only achieves one new customer because of the long-term value that’s going to bring to your business.
The other thing to understand with investing in any marketing is how different marketing campaigns actually start to benefit each other. If you would only ever do one-offs and you dabble with things and you try this and then that doesn’t work and then you try something else and that doesn’t work, and then you try something else and that doesn’t really work, that’s never going to work.
What works best in marketing is having several different marketing channels all going at once because quite often, people will see an email, notice it, but not do anything with it. Then they see you on Facebook and then they recognize that’s the same company that emailed me. But they don’t necessarily do anything with it.
Then they see an advert of yours and they respond to the advert. But they wouldn’t necessarily have responded to the advert had they not seen you in those two other channels first. So having several different forms of marketing means that every single element becomes more effective.
Finally, you’ve got the long-term effect of consistently marketing, which builds up. Frequency with marketing always outsells the kind of size or impact.
So in other words, if you’re advertising in a magazine, let’s say. If you take out one page or a double-page spread in one month, that’s not effective as taking a single line advert every month for 12 months. The frequency is always more important.
So if you are consistent with your marketing efforts, the results get better and better and better over time. If you’re always just looking at one-off things and expecting them to work straight away, then it’s unrealistic.
Mindset Mistake 2: A Sense Of Being Proud In Not Marketing
Now the second mindset mistake I see coming up is a sense of being proud in not marketing as if marketing or advertising your business is in some way low status or desperate. I think it’s kind of a British thing of not wanting to blow your own trumpet or feeling that your business is somehow superior if people naturally discover it and find it and are amazed by it.
You don’t even need to market. “We’ve never needed to advertise,” that’s what people often say. I think this mentality holds people back because they don’t then market and advertise their business. They don’t blow their own trumpet. They try and be some kind of hidden gem for people to discover and ultimately, it means fewer people discover and find out about your business.
If you’ve got a good product and a good service, then you’re doing people a disservice by hiding it and more importantly, you have staff that rely on you. So you need to be building up and generating regular work and regular new customers for the benefit of your staff and ultimately for you and the investment you’ve made in your business. So don’t be proud of not marketing and not advertising.
Mindset Mistake 3: Fear Of Competition
The third mindset mistake is fear of competition. Often when I’m talking to business owners about advertising case studies of successful projects they’ve completed with customers, testimonials from happy customers, showing a unique selling proposition, demonstrating what they do that’s so fantastic and why it’s better than the competition.
People are scared that competitors will see this and they will approach the customers from the testimonials or case studies that they will see the USPs or the selling points and they will in some way either copy or try and counteract them in their own marketing, in their own sales. There’s a fear that actually advertising this stuff will affect your business negatively rather than positively.
Now overwhelmingly, promoting the successes of your business and why you’re so good has a far, far greater positive impact than it will a negative impact.
I’m not saying that competitors don’t look at your website. They probably do and they may try to approach customers. But if you’ve done a great job with those customers, then they’re not going to leave you and you’re going to get so much more benefit from the fact that other potential buyers and prospects of yours can see the work you do and see why you’re so good.
Mindset Mistake 4: If I Get In Front Of The Right Person, Then I Get The Sale
A fourth mindset mistake is to do with sales. The phrase I often hear from people is if I get in front of the right person, then I get the sale. We’re very, very good when we get in front of people. So in other words, if someone approaches our business and they’ve got a genuine want, a genuine need, they’ve got a budget and they’re absolutely in the market for us, then I can successfully win the deal.
That might be true. But this is a bit like thinking you’re a great golfer because you’re very good at putting. That is only the very endpoint of the sales process. It’s only a part of the sales process. You also need to be a great driver. You also need to have a great short gain, etc.
So as well as converting the people that are genuinely interested and are in the market and are at the decision stage. How good are you or your sales team at turning people who are interested or half-interested into genuine opportunities, into actually creating and setting up those opportunities? In other words, how good at you at getting the ball on the green in the first place? Because that’s just as much of a skill as putting and doing the final part.
In businesses, you often see that people wait until someone is at that final endpoint before they will engage with them. If you’re doing that, then you’re missing out on sales opportunities and potential business.
Mindset Mistake 5: A No-Pressure Sales Approach
The fifth mindset mistake is also about sales and it is being proud of having a no-pressure sales approach. First of all, I do not believe in high-pressure sales approaches. The 1980s are over. Trying to strong-arm people in sales presentations, it just doesn’t work.
However, quite often, when people say they believe in no-pressure selling, what they actually mean is no selling at all. In other words, if you go and give a customer a quote or you go and tell them about what you do, and then you leave and you don’t follow up and you leave it with them and you wait for them to come back to you, then you’re actually doing them a disservice. You’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re fundamentally misunderstanding how people make buying decisions.
When your job is as a potential salesperson – if you’re in business, you are a salesperson. Your job is to help people make decisions. If you’ve got the best products, the best service, nine times out of ten, the decisions people make will be the right one. It will be the decision to work with you.
However, what you have to do is help people – give people the information and help them through their thought process, so that they can make that decision.
If you don’t do this, people will naturally procrastinate. They will go with the easiest option and they might well go with a competitor because they have simply followed up and persisted and shown more interest in actually winning the business. As a result, your potential customer has gone with an inferior product or an inferior service simply because you believed in this no-pressure sales approach and you just wanted to give them a quote and leave it with them. There was no follow-up and you didn’t try and allay fears or overcome objections.
You didn’t do any of the work that you have to do. You have to work a little bit harder for yourself and for your prospects and believe that by properly explaining what you offer to people and helping answer their questions, overcome potential objections, following it up, staying in touch and showing interest in them actually going ahead with you, you are helping that particular customer or prospect and you’re helping your business.
As I said, if you have the right product, the right service, you will win. That is not pressure. That is just being helpful and it’s advising people and its helping people make a decision.
So let’s recap. Quite often, I see people who are only ever occasionally advertising and when they do, they expect an immediate return and are disappointed when they don’t get it. They think marketing doesn’t work.
They get customers through word of mouth and believe that this is in some way a badge of honour because all their work comes from word of mouth and they never have to advertise and they never have to market. But as a result, their businesses don’t grow.
They don’t really tell people on their websites and in their marketing literature how good they are and what they do for customers because they’re afraid of competitors. They wait until people are actually at the point where I want your products, I want your service, before actually engaging them from a sales perspective.
When they do, they tend to just go out and leave a quotation and just provide some basic information and not use an actual proper sales process to attempt to convert that sale.
In the process, it basically means you’re not advertising and marketing because you’re waiting for the perfect opportunity and you consider it a failure if it doesn’t deliver immediately. You hide the light of your business under a bushel and only wait for the perfect sales opportunities. Then you don’t work as hard with them as you could because your fear of coming across as pushy holds you back.
All of those things affect your business. One of the things that we do at JDR is to work one on one with clients to address those mindset concerns as much as delivering the marketing and sales service that help businesses grow.
To find out more, go to our website. I hope this is useful and I really look forward to speaking to you again very soon. Bye for now.