An Easy Way to Lose Sales and the True Cost …

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… To Your Business

Are you giving your clients and prospects what they want and then converting initial sales into repeat business?

I’d like to tell you about a recent experience I had that illustrates 2 principles of attraction marketing:

  1. Give your clients what they want, not what you think they need or what you want to give them
  2. Make the initial sale an easy “yes” and then build a relationship to win repeat business – don’t try to sell a 3-course meal, when all your prospect wants is a starter!

A Tale of How One Company Failed to Do Either …

I’m on the subscriber list of a company that provides solutions for the content management system I use as the platform for my website. Their recent ezine triggered me into wondering whether I should upgrade my system to the latest version – as new versions come out every couple of months to fix bugs, add features and close security holes. Although I’m perfectly capable of doing the upgrades myself, I just don’t have the time or inclination and I’ve been wondering for a while if I shouldn’t hand this aspect of my website management over to someone who’s a specialist in the field.

So I contacted the guy who’s ezine I’d just read and asked him if he did any packages where I could pay a monthly fee to have my content management system kept up to date. He said that they were starting such a package in January, but that I’d have to have my webhosting with them as well. However, I went through 4 bad webhosting companies before I found the one I’m with now and I’m not about to change that – especially as I host a number of clients’ sites as well. So, as I didn’t want to buy his webhosting, I thought I’d try another tack – maybe he’d do the upgrades on an ad-hoc basis charging one off fees. No, he didn’t want to do that either. I basically had to buy the 3-course meal or go hungry!

Now, it may well be the case that his business model doesn’t allow for my requirements and that he’s too busy to take on something like this. BUT there is virtually no money whatsoever in reselling webhosting, so it’s not as though selling me the hosting would have made him a huge profit which would then make my business worthwhile to him. And in that particular arena, people are not generally charging high premiums for these types of packages – so I might even have been prepared to pay for the hosted option, even if I did my own hosting!

So after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing by email, the bottom line is that he wasn’t prepared to offer me anything that would solve my problem, even though as a specialist I would hope he has the capability to provide me with a solution that works for me. But he didn’t even really try to negotiate with me or help me find a solution. He just kept going on about how wonderful his hosting solution was, and didn’t really answer the questions I put to him.

One lost sale. One frustrated prospect.

When you lose one sale, you might actually be losing dozens …

The story doesn’t end there. I actually offer this content management system to clients who want to easily and quickly update their content, and I already have several clients using the system. But I no longer have time to stay on top of all the technical details so I’m looking for a specialist to partner with who’ll help me run these sites and provide solutions to my clients and prospects in the content management systems area. So he not only lost the initial sale to me, but he also lost any further purchases I might make from him on behalf of my own business AND all the purchases I would have made from him on behalf of my clients. And who knows, maybe I would have decided to go with his hosting solution somewhere further down the track.

This guy was succeeding at attraction marketing by staying in touch via his ezine which prompted me into initiating a sales conversation, but then he “blew it” because:

1) He wouldn’t sell me what I wanted to buy. He would only offer what he wanted to sell. I was making it as easy as possible to sell to me, and yet he still couldn’t close the sale.

2) He failed to understand that a client has far more value than the initial sale. In this case, had he done a good job with my initial requirement, I would have brought more business to him and probably made referrals as well. As it is, I still have to find someone to do the work on my site, and when I find them, I’ll probably give them all of the other work that comes my way.

For all I know, he has very good reasons for turning my business away. Unfortunately he didn’t communicate them to me, so I’m left with the feeling that he only wanted me to buy what he felt like selling. The net result is that he’s wasted his investment in marketing to me and is unlikely to make the easy profits he might have made from the referrals I would have sent him.

If it had been me, and if the project didn’t suit my business at this time, I would at the very least have explained why I wasn’t able to accept the project and given a referral to someone else who would be interested in the work. This way everyone wins. The client gets their needs met, a colleague or partner gets a new client, and I generate goodwill all round.

The lessons from this experience are that it’s much easier to sell people what THEY want and not what you want, and never forget that the initial sale is the doorway to further, ever more profitable sales. Don’t obstruct sales or frustrate people who are actively seeking your help. So many service businesses have to create demand because prospects are not actively seeking them out, so don’t waste opportunities and easy sales when they come along. Take note of what the market wants and adapt your offering. If you can’t take the project yourself, pass it to an associate and take a referral fee thus maintaining your good relationships with everyone.

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