small business

Getting a Customer to Yes and Business To-do Lists

March 28th 2013
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We recently went to our first trade show. We had a 3m*3m bit of grass in a powered marquee, pictured above. Inverell on Display showcases local businesses to people from our town and the region. This year over 8000 people attended.  

Leading up to the event we were excited about getting together marketing material. A pull-up banner, some flyers, a lollie bowl, a "lucky door" prize. People who gave us their email for our newsletter went into the draw for a basket of coffee products. 

This is what we had seen other people do. We were also aware of the type of engagement our potential clients might want. We set up seats and a fan so people could discuss things with us in comfort. 

Anyway, it went well, they were long days but we got 8-10 solid leads, some good enquiries. It was also a brand exposure activity, letting people know there was a professional web design service in their town. Talking to neighbouring stall holders was positive as well. 

Which leads us to:

Lessons learnt from our first trade show. 

We were amazed at how engaged customers were. They were open and honest, they were willing to sit down and talk. They were happy to discuss specifics. One couple even came back on the second day with a deposit for a web design project. 

This totally suprised me. We were concentrating on attracting people to the stall. Having marketing materials they could take away with them. Maybe they would contact us in a few weeks, organise an initial meeting.

We were, in fact, having initial meetings straight away. 

What was going on? These people had been sold on us elsewhere we were not selling here we were closing. 

How business owners minds work 

Having thought this over I began to realise how business owners minds work. It is the same with me as a business owner. We all have a list of todos in our mind. Things that we know we need to do for our business. They could be: 

  • Fill a job vacancy

  • Buy insurance

  • Get a website

  • Replace the signage at the front of the shop 

The list goes on. Each one of these has a priority in a business owners mind. The first item is most important, the next a little less, and so on. Some items on this list need to be actioned straight away, others stay down at item 6-8 all the time, over the years. 

This is where my web design service normally sits. We are not exactly crucial to a businesses operation. We can be over time, but initially getting a website is just another thing a business owner needs to do. 

So what drives items up the list?

These items are on the list because doing them will benefit the business. Reduce risks, increase opportunities, that sort of thing. So what makes a business owner reorder the list? Here are some factors that influence that. 

  1. Benefits – The business owner thinks how will taking this step benefit their business. So web design will bring exposure to their business. They will appear in Google searches, their services and contact details will be available to potential customers. This is a nice benefit, but does not make the business owner have to rush out and get one today. But over time if the business owners awareness of the benefits of a website grows. If they see the potential of online sales, if they understand the relation of cost to leads generated compared to other marketing efforts, if they see the loyalty and engagement social media creates around their brand. All these things increase the benefits of this action and lifts the item up the todo list.
  2. Ease – Another thing that is stopping people from buying your service today is ease. How easy will the process be? Will it take a lot of time? What does a business owner need to do in the process? Are you approachable, easy to contact and talk to? If the item is seen as difficult then it will be pushed down the list for something easier.
  3. Price – How much will this cost? Compared to other items on the list that may be beneficial to their business how does this service rank? Like all of these the perception is relative. For a large organisation a $5000 website might be fine, but for a small business the actionable price point might be closer to $1000.
  4. Trust – As a third party service provider a business owner is exposing their business to you. How trustworthy are you? Are you going to do what you say? Are you going to charge what you say? 

Reducing peoples reason to say no.

Sales is then not an activity to get people to say yes, it is reducing their nos. By addressing their concerns and breaking down their inhibitions they get closer to you. They come to a place where they have no reason to say no to you. 

Conclusion

We got such a great response at our first trade show because a lot of the work was done before people even saw us. They had read our website, they had been subscribed to our newsletter, seen our interactions on Facebook, they had heard about us through friends and collegues. The opportunity to speak to us moved the "get a website" item to the top and their todo list and they genuinely spoke to us. "Lets get this done" was the attitude from a lot of people. 

So reduce your customers inhibitions, address their concerns, get your business to the top of their todo list today.