The Priceless Antique

Have you seen Antiques Roadshow.

Every episode, some little old lady brings in a old trinket that has been in their attic for decades gathering dust, and an expert in tweed reveals:

“This is no ordinary dusty old trinket. It’s actually a priceless historical artifact”

The Priceless Historical Artifacts in Your Business

By far, the most valuable asset most businesses own is their past leads and customers.

But most of the time, your most valuable asset is stored in the attic – gathering dust.

Today – it’s time to climb up to the attic, dust off this priceless trinket, and put it in pride-of-place in your business. Because we’re going to make this asset shine!

The Irony of Advertising

Almost every business I’ve ever advised, consulted to (or occasionally owned!) has neglected their existing leads and clients.

They’re easy to overlook. They’re happy, quiet, and not buying right now.

“And damnit, I’m so busy with doing the work that I don’t have time to deal with them right now!”

But then we go out and pay money and spend time to attract new potential customers instead of fully engaging the ones we already have.

This is the irony of advertising.

So many businesses pay huge sums of money to attract new leads – only to neglect them.

“They’ll Tell ME When They Want To Buy”

Perhaps the expectation is that if customers wanted to buy, they’d approach us.

Often that isn’t the case.

How many times have you heard – or said – one of these…

  • “You were in the right place when I needed it!”,
  • “That’s just what I was after!”,
  • “Where have you been!? This solves the problem I’ve been battling for months!”,
  • “Oh yeah, I forgot you did that.”,
  • “Damnit – I should have ordered that earlier. Can you please rush that product to me because I now need it urgently?”

These comments are the tip of the iceberg – the few times we hear about how many sales we’re potentially missing because of lack of follow-up communication.

Sometimes They Don’t Realise They Already Have The Problem You Solve

Last week, I picked up a new student – simply because I had popped up at the time they had a particular problem in their business.

For the first time ever, this student realised that what I did actually addressed a deeper issue they had in their business.

They’d read one of my articles – and it spoke to the specific problem they were having in their business at the time – so they bought!

(This is a client who had previously been circling my business for years – and if I hadn’t been in regular contact with my leads, networks and past customers, I would have missed this sale.)

Sometimes They Need You To Offer Something Worth Buying

Another student was frustrated that he wasn’t getting paid better as a consultant.

Bills were coming in – he was working 12 hour days – but the work paid peanuts.

This is a guy who is at the top of his field. He’s immensely skilled and capable as a consultant – and his skills far outshone what he was getting paid a pittance to do. But none of his clients were asking him to do the kind of work he was truly capable of.

“Have you actually asked to be paid better?”

It turned out, no. He hadn’t.

It took a few minutes to develop an offer; a few days to contact all of his past clients to find out if they’re having problems in the area that his offering solved; and a week to increase his revenues by a solid 6-figure sum!

Do More

Throughout this series, I’ve encouraged you NOT to increase the amount of time, effort and money that you’re putting into your marketing – but instead, to focus your efforts better in each area.

The value of putting a little bit of effort into follow-up is so high that it’s the one area of business that is worth finding time to concentrate on.

Borrow from another area of your business. Any area. Few are going to be as valuable as spending some time concentrating on the “Transaction Frequency” lever, and boosting your repeat sales.

But I’d encourage you to do this in a leveraged way.

Buckets vs Pipeline

This is the difference between fetching buckets of water from the well – and building a pipeline that will bring the water to you.

Start by thinking about how you’d communicate with one lead directly.

What would you say to them?

  • Would you share an interesting article that you read?
  • Would you share interesting story about a similar business dealing with a similar problem?
  • Would you share an insight, or piece of information with them?
  • Would you invite them to a meeting or event?
  • Would you wish them a happy birthday?
  • Would you ask them about the issue they got in touch with you about?
  • Would you simply follow up about a quote, or solution, you provided?
  • Would you thank them for being a customer?

How would you interact with this person one-to-one if they were in-front of you right now?

This is “bucket” thinking.

Turn Your Bucket Into A Pipeline

Now, let’s turn your bucket into a pipeline.

How could you leverage that communication – and instead of saying it once, saying it thousands of times?

  • Would you script it, and make it part of your sales process?
  • Would you send it via a text message?
  • Would you send it via email?
  • Would you put a note in your diary to get in touch via phone?
  • Would you send a letter?
  • Would you send a gift?

The Marketing Miracle Under Your Nose

Modern marketing automation systems are a miracle of technology – every bit as revolutionary as the steam engine, production line, electronic eye, and robotic assembly… Except applied to the revenue generating side of your business.

But most businesses haven’t realised how powerful these tools can be.

The idea of simply automating some of the logical and daily interactions a “perfect salesperson” might have with your existing leads or customers is never considered.

It’s the source of a hugely valuable advantage you can establish in your market, over your competitors.

It’s a force-multiplier for your salesforce – allowing one salesman to have the effect of hundreds, perhaps thousands of customer interactions per day.

And it goes without saying that the value of doing this can be huge – far greater than the 10% gains you’re targeting in the process outlined in the 7 Levers and the Growth Paradox whitepaper.

Until next time,

Brent Hodgson

Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

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