Most business owners make this critical mistake that costs their business a lot more than just sales. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retail store, or a solo e-commerce entrepreneur…
If you are struggling against an apathetic market, who doesn’t care about your products or services, then this may give you a clue on how you can turn your business around.
Here’s how most businesses start:
Someone has an idea or a product that they are excited about. That solves a problem that they themselves may have experienced before, or are currently experiencing.
They hit the drawing board with optimism. How do I get this thing out to my customers?
They start looking at what other businesses are doing.
Ok, so all these businesses have social media pages, website, flyers, bus stop posters, Facebook marketing…
And they start setting all these things up. Done. What’s next?
They start inviting all their friends and family to like their social media pages. Like my page. Support my new business!
Or, if they have a physical store, they invite their friends and family down to their shop to “support” them.
And maybe there’s a little hype at the start. They get a few curious people asking about the new business.
They get some sales every now and then. But very quickly…
The sales die off as quickly as they started.
Their friends and family stop supporting them. There’s little to no traffic to their business at all day to day.
In short, the hard truth is…
No One Cares About Your Business
Especially in this day and age, where new businesses and products are popping up dime a dozen.
And everyone is an “entrepreneur” these days. It’s hard to get the market to care about your business or what you have to offer.
In a free market, the top dogs have a monopoly on attention.
They not only can drown you out by shouting louder (i.e., more marketing and advertising dollars)…
They also have a larger crowd to shout at. And nothing attracts a large crowd… better than a large crowd.
That means, as their customer base gets larger and larger exponentially, it’s taking away from every other business.
In some sense, people are like sheep. They go where everyone else is going. They eat what everyone else is eating.
And they buy from who everyone else is buying.
So, if you can’t generate buzz or get people talking about you… and continue to keep that buzz alive…
Your business will soon be forgotten.
Your Market Only Cares About Themselves
And the mistake that most businesses are making is that they are trying to sell their products or services to the market by trying to get attention.
In the early days, there was this game you may or may not have heard of called Maple Story.
In the game, there is a marketplace, where players can gather to sell rare items that they obtained from killing monsters in the game.
Here’s what the marketplace looks like 24/7:
So, just to give a little context. The chat bubbles are the merchants trying to sell their rare items.
Each chat box has a certain height. In order to make your chat box higher, players add a bunch of “@” to raise the height and “stand above” the crowd.
Some even literally climb up the cliffs to get a height advantage.
And the funny thing is, this is exactly what is happening in real life.
Every business is just trying different ways to compete on the same level. And in the end, the whole marketplace just gets noisy, cluttered, and chaotic.
But the really funny thing is…
Most of these merchants don’t sell any items this way. If you’ve actually played the game, you’ll know this.
Because the marketplace is so crowded with all these chat bubbles, people who are interested in buying don’t bother looking through all the offers.
They merely type in the chat what they are looking for, and the players who are selling that item, will direct message them.
After all, who really has the time and patience to read every single chat bubble when everything is so messy.
If they know what they want, they just announce it. The merchants can directly message them with offers. The buyers pick the best offer, and leave with what they’re looking for.
And That’s The Simple Shift In Your Business That Will Get You Results
In short, don’t sell your product or service to your customers…
Sell your customers to your product or service.
Better yet, sell your customers on your product or service.
What does all that mean?
Let’s break it down from the top.
Don’t sell your product or service to your customers; Sell your customers to your product or service.
Here’s how Doug D’Anna puts it, “Copywriting is not about building a bridge from your product to your market, it’s about building a bridge from your market to your product.”
The same applies for businesses.
But most business people are doing this. They’re business is centered around what they have to offer.
And then they keep trying to persuade the market why their ____ is the best, cheapest, fastest, highest quality, etc…
But no one cares.
Your market doesn’t want to know what you have to offer. They want to know how what you offer can solve their problems.
And the thing is, they may not even be aware of the problems.
So, it’s your job as a business owner and marketer to show them that they have a problem.
Instead of starting with your product or service, and trying to push them onto an apathetic market…
Start with what your market wants and needs, then provide them a specific solution that satisfies that need.
So, How Exactly Do You “Start From Your Market”?
Well, that’s a good question. And one that takes a bit of time and effort but the payoff is HUGE.
When you actually take the time to do these few steps, your business will definitely take a big turn.
Following the Maple Story example above, your customers are already announcing what solutions they are looking for.
It’s on you and your business to find these people, and give them what they want.
1. Find Out More About Your Market
First, you need to really understand what your customers really want.
And I mean what they really want. That means tapping into their deepest emotions.
Their fears. Their pains. Their hopes. Their pleasures.
What makes them angry, humiliated, guilty?
Who are the villains in their life?
What do they worry about the most?
Along with other demographic information like age, gender, income level, etc.
2. Observe And Talk To Them
To do that, you have to go to where they are and meet your customers. Online and offline.
You can be a fly on the wall and observe them. Listen to conversations. Take notes.
Or, better yet, you can ask them yourself. Without selling them anything, get them to talk about what they really feel about the problem.
What words do they use? What kind of stories are they telling their friends and family?
What kind of mistakes did they make and do they know how to rectify them?
Once you know their “red button” problems, and you know that your solution addresses that specifically.
3. Use Their Language To Speak To Them
Then, you’ll know exactly how to speak to them. You’ll be perceived as one of them, and you can earn their trust.
People will only buy when they know you’re not trying to sell them something, but you’re just like them, and sharing a solution.
Which brings me to the important part…
How to sell your customers on your product or service.
What I mean is instead of telling them how good the solution is, blah blah blah…
You indirectly show them that there is a solution, and what the solution is.
As the saying goes: Show, don’t tell.
Give them points A, B, and C, and let them come to their own conclusions.
There is a subtle, but powerful difference.
Lets say you are an owner of a new restaurant.
If you post on social media that you are popular and many people are coming to your restaurant, no one cares.
It might even be seen as boasting.
But if you simply post a picture online showing a queue, with a caption, “Our staff and crew are working hard to serve as many customers as we can. Thank you for your support.”
You’re not directly saying that you’re popular, or that you have a lot of people coming.
That said, your market will infer that from that post. And get curious.
You don’t have to brag or tell them anything. You simply have to show them.
And that’s how you sell your market on your product or service, instead of selling to them.
And When You Get Customers Buying Your Products Without You Selling To Them…
They become loyal fans of your brand. It’s that simple.
Again, people like to buy but they hate being sold to.
And when they buy once, and have a good experience, they’re more likely to buy again.
Because no one wants to believe they made a bad decision. So once they find something they’re happy with, they’ll stick with it for a long time.
It’s this simple shift in how you market and brand your business that will turn things around for you.
So, if you found this article useful, rather than closing this window and chucking it into the back recesses of your mind…
Why don’t try it on your business. Especially if your business is struggling to get an apathetic market to care about what you offer.
Let us know how it goes. And if you want to learn more…
We’d love to have a chat with you. Go here to reach us and let us know how we can help you grow your business.