Not at all strange. Since most of us learned our trades in the nanosecond it took for the digital revolution to turn the business world upside down.
So, most people in our buying cycle start from a place where they seem happy, because they don’t know there’s a problem to begin with. This is not stupidity. It’s just how things work in our complex, multi-layered system of individual and super-niche service offerings.
I don’t know the problems you have, and you don’t know the problems I have.
Here are the facts
To test this theory, try this the next time you’re at a networking event and talking to someone you just met. When they just scratch the surface of a problem you know how to solve, tell them right away that you can help.
They’ll run away faster than a snail can pull its tentacles back and slam into its shell. They’ll ask, “What’s the problem?” They are all set. They are everywhere. We don’t like being sold to because it makes us feel bad.
It’s also possible that it’s not the real issue. Problems have many parts, like an onion.
Even if they are aware of it in some way, they aren’t going to tell you about its complexity and closeness because you are a “virtual stranger” who they have only met briefly to exchange cards and courtesy.
Flip the way you think. Watch what you do when you are in the same situation. As a polite answer to a business pitch, you might agree to something.
If your overly enthusiastic friend starts telling you right away how they can help you solve the problem, you will also leave quickly.
Which is a little bit scary, given that many business owners still try to get new customers by networking.
And that you could give them a great answer to a problem they don’t even know they have. But you won’t even come close to doing that if you tell someone about your offer as soon as you meet them.
So, how do you tell them that you’ve found a problem that they don’t know they have and that you know how to fix it?
Now it’s time to move on to art
Tricky. But not impossible. Do what I say. I help business owners build communities that support, promote, and contribute to their success, and in the process, I help other people.
As a big-picture idea, it’s not hard to explain what a business clan can do for you. In fact, it’s a hot word right now. People are talking about community all the time. As if you could just pick it up off a shelf, open it, and voila! Right away.
Not possible, folk.
Building a strong clan requires doing a lot of other things right first.
It’s hard to tell a business owner who is already busy that they need to spend a lot more time and money to solve a problem they don’t even know they have.
Until you stick a red-hot poker right into the spot where they hurt the most. (I’m sorry if anyone in my clan reads this, but trust me, it’s for your own good.)
“I know you’re busy, but wouldn’t you like to find a few more good customers?” “So you don’t mean the ones who work you to death and then complain about the bill?”
“You’re already very busy, and then there’s so much to do to market your business online?” “It’s hard to figure out what to put first, especially when you’re not getting good results.”
“You spend so much time trying to market your business on social media that you barely have time to do paid work?” “The Internet can be a time-sucking black hole for sure.”
“What did your web designer charge you?” Because you changed one word?”
“You’ve forgotten your passwords, can’t renew your domain, and can’t get into the back end of your site?” That’s kind of like owning a car but not having the keys.
Now things start to get interesting. Glen Carlson recently talked about sales at a Key Person Of Influence seminar. He said that if your goal is to help, you should start a sales conversation with a respectful conversation that aims to gently find out what the real problem is.
You can also talk about what it means to have such a problem and not do anything about it. In many situations, the effects can be very bad in the long run. Stress, exhaustion, disappointment, loss of interest, problems with family, and running out of money.
A capital “A” for art
Which brings me to a solution that works for everyone. What if there was a way for a business owner to follow a step-by-step plan to run a successful business that was fun, profitable, and made a difference in their lives and the lives of others? Sounds like nirvana right?
Certainly. It’s also not hard to figure out. It means figuring out why you are in business in the first place. A Why.
It’s also about being interested in new things. You need to know who, where, and how many people are looking for what you have to offer.
When you know that, it’s easier to figure out how to brand and position your online purpose.
That makes it much easier to come up with a plan that guides your online presence and actions.
Once you decide to own, shape, and manage your online assets (so you have both the car and the keys), you have a rock-solid platform from which to communicate with purpose.
This puts you in touch with the person you most want to see.
When you give them a way to work with you to make a difference, a new and interesting business conversation begins. One that turns your visitor into an advocate, a sales force that works for you 24/7, and helps you build a strong clan.
“Tribes make our lives better, and leading a tribe is the best life of all,” said Seth Godin.