It’s time to stop giving your energy on those you shouldn’t be selling too.
All too often I hear people say, “Teresa I want to help everyone. So everyone is my customer.” And my response is always, “That must be exhausting!”
Being a business owner is hard enough, especially if you are doing much of it on your own, so why exhaust your energy on those who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
Check out this video where we chat about who you shouldn’t be focusing your energy on and why…
Who you shouldn’t be selling to and what you can do instead…
Posted by Teresa Schlup, Web Design on Friday, 15 March 2019
Starting off in the small business world is a huge incredible step and one that is scary. We have to put ourselves out there in a way that we never have before. And show up in new bold ways that are probably not all that comfortable to us. Because of this, it is pretty common to stick to the “safe and comfortable” places we know when promoting our business. Sadly the people we are meant to serve, at least the majority of them, just aren’t in those safe and comfortable places.
So today I thought I would touch on two groups that are the most common safe and comfortable places, and what you could be doing with the people in those groups instead.
Your family and friends love you. They want you to succeed and do well, and they want to support you. They also quite possibly may think you are crazy for taking the leap to be an entrepreneur. But selling to them, or relying on them to become your customer can put you both in an awkward position of unrealistic expectations. It can also create an energy between you that is not always supportive or encouraging.
The pity purchase…
I have done this, and had this done to me. I can assure you that any time anything is purchased out of pity with a “bless her heart for trying,” the outcome is never good. For one the purchaser doesn’t fully understand or value what they are purchasing. Because they don’t, they are not in a position to promote it. And the seller often feels like “I owe them for believing in me.” This puts them in the uncomfortable place of obligation, creating pressure to deliver and go above and beyond what is already offered.
What you could do instead…
When you sense your this is happening, rather than opening the doors to pity and obligation why not say something like…
“I really appreciate you wanting to support me. If this isn’t a perfect fit for you, please don’t feel obligated. I put a lot of time, effort and energy into making my products and services the best they can be. I really want to ensure those receiving them receive the full benefit they have to offer.”
Not only does this help you avoid the cycle of pity and obligation, but you also demonstrate a level of professionalism that will impress them, and make them even more likely to sing your praises to others.
The “I’m doing you a favor” purchase
This is a tough one because they are at least a little interested in what you have to offer. Added to that they do want to support you. But again they probably don’t fully understand the value of what you are offering. For this reason they may expect a discount, or special treatment.
What you could do instead…
Tell them in your most loving voice that you are excited they are interested in your products or services. Then hold firm to your original prices and offerings.
If they are truly interested in what you have to offer, they will be willing to pay full price and not expect special treatments. If they aren’t willing to pay full price, they may not be your ideal customer after all.
Important Side Note if you are tempted to offer a discount…
Now if you find yourself really tempted to give them a discount, first offer to think about it for a few days. And promise to follow up in a few days. This will give you both time to think, and perhaps they may just begin to see the value in what you are offering. After all when we realize something may not be available to us, we think about it more! Most importantly, check out my article on 3 Things to Consider Before Offering the Friends/Family Discount for tips on how to handle that conversation. This will help you determine if offering a discount truly honors you, your family member or friend and your business.
Now I am going to switch gears a little bit and talk about networking connections. The entrepreneurial world has expanded so much that we are blessed with many opportunities to network and connect. I myself belong to a BNI chapter, a masterminds group, and regularly attend coffee connections in my area. And then of course there are the online groups through facebook, and other avenues that are great at helping people connect.
But here is the thing… just because you have met this person and received their business card, doesn’t mean they are going to buy from you. They may be willing to pass on your information to others, but only if there is a relationship of trust first.
Let me give you an example from my own networking experiences. When I joined my BNI chapter, I knew that pretty much every other business represented in the group had a website. (BNI for Breakfast, or what I like to call the best BNI chapter in Sioux Falls!) And I knew they were probably happy with the website they had. After all there are some really great web designers in our area.
So I never approached my networking group with the intention of selling my services to them. What I do instead is do my best to help them understand how I do business. I share little stories each week during our meetings about the types of clients or projects I work on, and I make a point to have a 1:1 meeting with one or two members every week. This gives us both the opportunity to get to know each other better. It also helps us start to build a relationship based on trust and respect.
A standard practice that can hurt your biz…
There seems to be a new rule of standard practice out there that has us adding people to our marketing platform as soon as we have their business card. By marketing platforms I am talking about newsletters, facebook groups and texting apps. All of this is done in the spirit of sales and networking. All too often these are people that we haven’t even had a personal conversation with yet.
While it does help your lists bigger, it also invites a level of distrust into the relationship you are building with those you connect with. And at the very least it can be quite annoying.
Networking events are meant to help you build relationships
Networking events are a great place to meet people and make connections. It is a place to build relationships with people who get what it means to be an entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean they are your ideal customer. And because you know I love examples, let me share something that happened to me last fall.
It was a networking event that was quite big with lots of amazing women there. I had a great time and met some incredible people, but in the days after the event I found myself bombarded with sales messages. In fact I was added to
- 10 newsletters
- 4 new facebook groups
- 2 texting apps for sales related texts
Plus I received countless “buy from me” messages through messenger. This was all from people who I didn’t actually have a conversation with or meet. They simply received my business card in the pass around and added me to their marketing platforms. Needless to say this approach didn’t make me want to connect with these businesses.
What you could do instead…
- If you can, start off with a personal conversation. Even if it is just a few minutes.
- Send them a personal email stating you enjoyed meeting them and invite them to have a cup of coffee with you
- Have a 1:1 face-to-face or screen-to-screen conversation with them and ask them, “How can I support you?”
- INVITE THEM to your texting app, newsletter, Facebook group or other platform you use to connect with customers, if you feel they may benefit from it.
- Like their business page and interact with their posts, and invite them to do the same for you
While taking this approach may not build your lists very quickly. It will help you start building a relationship of trust that is going to last far beyond the initial meeting.