Marketing is like rowing a boat. When you know how thepointed bow moves smoothly forward through the waterencountering the least amount of resistance. Rowingbackwards, the square stern of the boat pushes against thewater, requiring more effort and increases the risk ofhaving a wave come over the transom (back) and swamping it.Yet most people market backwards, trying to grow theirbusiness while pushing against the greatest level ofresistance.

Wouldn’t you like to market your business so that it movedeasily forward?

What’s the first thing most people do to increase salës oftheir products, services? They put together a description oftheir credentials. Then they pick up the ph0ne, run an adcampaign, send out a brochure and or build a web site andask people to buy.

Do you know anyone who has used this approach?

Have you tried it yourself?

Were you happy with the number of new clients and customersyou attracted?

It’s a common misperception that the fastest way to attractmore clients and customers is to focus on asking people tobuy. It looks like the obvious route, but in most cases itgenerates only a trickle of new clients for small businessowners. It can work if you’re a large company with millionsof dollars to spend building your brand. Why doesn’t thisselling approach work for service professionals and smallbusiness owners?

A sale is the end point or one of the waypoints in yourrelationship with a client. Before they are ready to giveyou their m0ney prospects need to be confident that you havewhat they want, and they trust your product or service willdeliver on your promises.

When you lead with a focus on selling and your credentialsyou run into high levels of resistance. It is like trying torow a boat backwards.

Marketing is about building relationships, one by one. Startby focusing on what your prospect wants, not on yourself.

Think about it. When you pick up the ph0ne or encounter afriend, what’s one of the first things you say? Do youlaunch into a monologue about yourself? Most people usuallystart the conversation with a friendly questions or two andthen find a topic of mutual interest. If you haveinformation your friend is interested in, you share it.

I frequently get calls from people who say they hatemarketing. Why? Trying to convince people to buy feelspushy.

An alternative that is more effective - and more fun - is tofocus instead on giving people what they want. Get yourprospect’s attention by leading with a question or statementthat succinctly gets them thinking about how you can solve aproblem they have. This is your marketing message orelevator speech, not your salës pitch. Once you have theirinterest, give them something they want in order to promptthem to contact you. This could be a short report orarticle.

Does your marketing approach give people what they want?Does it help start a conversation and a relationship?

Once a prospect gives you their contact information, go towork and make good on their trust by showing an interest intheir needs and giving them a steady stream of useful tips.The more you give your prospects, the stronger yourrelationship will be.

Rowing a boat backwards is hard work and won’t get you veryfar. There is just too much resistance. To attract moreclients and grow your business stop marketing backwards andpushing against high levels of resistance. Give yourprospects what they want, build relationships and you’llfind more prospects buying the solutions you provide.

2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the Frëe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com