It suddenly struck me yesterday how selling and marketing your services can be incredibly similar to how people behave in a personal relationship. I see the same sorts of traits in people trying to sell their services as I have seen with many different people in how they are in their relationships, so I thought I would run through the key ones.
Which one are you?
“Where are you going? Stay with me. Why would you want to leave me? You don’t love me. Come back, come back, pleassssseeeee!!”
It’s not the best trait is it? If someone is that needy, it can become very unattractive. It is exactly the same when someone is desperate to sell you their services.
A needy sales person doesn’t make many sales.
I can vouch for this. When I left the legal profession in 2003 I decided to run a franchise before launching my marketing consultancy so that I could prove I could market and sell my own services before telling other business owners how to do the same for their services.
I bought a franchise selling promotional merchandise; golf umbrellas with company names on, pens and clothing etc. I started completely from scratch with a brand that no one had heard of.
In the beginning, I really was very needy. I had left a well paid job as a solicitor, spent a large chunk of money on a franchise and had absolutely nothing coming in, whilst having a wife and two very young children to feed at home.
I really did need every sale, and it clearly showed. I was being far too needy.
One day I stopped. I still did my marketing, I looked for the value that the merchandise would bring to the business owner and started talking about that. I didn’t ask for the sale, I just presented my recommendations and prices and left it with the client.
The sales flowed in.
I had gone from Needy to Confident in one fell swoop and it worked. I sold more merchandise in that first year of the franchise than anyone else had done in that sector, mostly by moving away from needyness.
Another relationship trait which is not attractive is jealousy. It can eat people up, pushing them to the point of illness. They spend so much time and energy worrying that someone else, normally everyone else, is after their partner.
I see it in business when people are crippled by jealousy in reaction to their competitors.
”Look at their website. They must be bringing in hundreds of clients every month with that amazing website.”
”How can I compete with them? Their branding, their marketing and the client bank they have. There is simply no point in me trying.”
If you think I am joking, I can assure you that I am not. I have seen countless business owners do this to themselves. They become so paralysed with jealousy of their competitor that they do nothing to marketing their own business. They simply give up ‘because there is no point’ in even trying.
They may spend all day looking at their website, believing that it is the best website for their type of service, so they would simply be foolish to try and compete.
The funny thing is, or the sad thing is, that on nearly every occasion where I meet a business owner who feels this way, when I analyse their competitor’s website it is clear that it isn’t doing half as much as they believe it to be the case. I can see that there is no SEO, they aren’t featuring well in the search results* and so the website which paralyses my potential client is really not doing much at all.
*”they aren’t featuring well in the search results…”
I wanted to mention something here to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake. When someone goes looking for their competitor, let’s say they are a mortgage broker in Reading, they might naturally enter “mortgage broker reading” into the search results. If they find their competitor in the top 10 results and click on them, then do the same most days, Google or whichever search engine now starts to personalise the search for this user.
They notice that they keep on entering “mortgage broker reading” and clicking on the competitor’s website, so they move that search right to the top of their personalised search experience. Now, every time the person enters this search term they see their competitor at the top – because they have put them there by clicking on them all of the time.
Please be aware of this personalised search so that you don’t believe your own website or a competitor’s website is doing better than it actually is.
Playing the field
Seeing more than one person at a time isn’t a particularly nice relationship trait, and it is equally as bad in business.
What I mean here is when I see certain businesses, such as Google Ads agencies or Search Engine Marketing companies acting for two competitors in the same town or city targeting the same services.
How can that be right?
When I ask them they tell me that it is not a problem because there are 10 organic search results or 3 to 6 Google Ads results on the first page of search, so acting for two or three clients is fine.
I don’t think so.
Some people charge a premium for exclusivity, some people don’t but offer it in any event just because it feels like the right thing to do.
I agree. Act for one client, give them your all and let the relationship thrive.
Which moves me onto the next relationship reference: love.
You find your perfect partner. You complement each other, making each of you the best you that you can be.
This is the same when you find the perfect clients. You do your best work for them, they get the best results possible and make a healthy return on the investment in your services, whilst you get paid a reasonable fee for the work that you do.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Love is the best outcome in a relationship as it is when you find the perfect client.
Ignore the jealousy, avoid the neediness, don’t play the field, just focus on proving the perfect service for your clients in exchange for your reasonable fee, and watch your business thrive.
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