- Write down the main concerns of your customers
When your clients go to sleep at night, what is on their mind? The thought sounds strange, but everybody has a motivation for buying a product or service.
For instance, the small business owner who is in their early 50's may be highly concerned with finances because his or her children are approaching college age. A minimum $35,000 annual tab will move someone. It will move someone quite quickly.
Simply knowing the few preceding thoughts of the buyer prior to inking the contract paves the way for the small business professional to determine where he or she fits into the buying equation in a clear-cut way that is enviable compared to some of the more convoluted aspects of buying and selling in business.
Figuring out this piece of the puzzle does not take a genius, yet implementing it will make one appear as so.
- Make a note of your prospective customer's competitors
Any small business owner who claims they know all of their competitors is a mathematical genius. My company's site yields over 400 hits a day. On a good day, someone will search the same term over 6 times.
The truth of the matter is that your clients don't know their competitors because they don't Google the right keywords when trying to find those competitors. Your clients have a biased view of the various search terms that are utilized to find their organization and subsequent competitors on the web.
Therefore, you must tell your clients who their competitors are. Know their competitors' strengths and weaknesses. Know how your product or service fits into the competitive landscape.
Simply shooting your client an email with a link and a brief note, "I found these guys on the web, do you know them?" will make them want to buy more and more from you.
Know why? It is called the law of reciprocity. To put it in proper context, people are more likely to buy from those who do them a favor.
- Sit down and formulate a plan to become a "necessary evil"
In business, I have become convinced that to play in the big leagues, you must become a necessary evil. Clients must be exceedingly compelled to buy your products or services regardless of whether they like you or not.
Companies and people like Wal-Mart, Trump, Goldman Sachs and a million others have all received terrible press at one point or another, yet they still exist and still continue to expand in size and popularity.
How do you know if you're a necessary evil? See if you have the guts to fire a client, then fire another one all while maintaining the confidence that bottom line growth will not even flinch.
Blueprint out how to do this and you're rapidly moving in the right direction.
- Write down what the customer's overall goals are and how you fit into the equation
It is imperative that you know why your customers are using your product or service. The reason behind their ambitions to write you that check may be different than you perceive it to be.
For instance, when I was interviewing publicists for my company, we had two women come in from an agency to pitch us their services.
I use the term "pitch" because instead of asking questions and figuring out what I wanted, they morphed into a speaking brochure. They discussed that I would get a ton of website hits when I got on daytime television only to realize that my prospective clients are all working during the day.
My goals were entirely different as well as my marketing vision.

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