I was fed up with my business back in 2014…
I don’t know about you, but have you ever felt sick and tired of…
- Repeating yourself over and over trying to educate prospects…
- Wasting your time talking to tire kickers…
- Hustling hard, feeling like a hamster on a wheel…
- People asking about your prices before they even know what you do and how you’re different to other service providers…
- Convincing prospects why they needed your services…
I’ve felt the same way… and it made me question if I was cut out to be a business owner.
The struggle in starting and growing my own service based business made me realise that I actually wasn’t all that great at marketing… even though I was helping small businesses with online marketing and already had a few years of experience.
I’ll be the first to admit the irony.
Despite the fact that I had already learned how to build websites, generate traffic with SEO, understood social media, learned Google ads and made money with affiliate marketing for a few years before starting my service based business…
At the time, I thought it was enough to understand the technologies, the platforms and the tactics.
Because that’s what was sold to me when I first learned marketing online.
It’s easy to appeal to entrepreneurs who are hungry to learn how to grow their businesses when “marketing gurus” make digital platforms sound “sexy” with bold claims and big promises.
I hadn’t learned what was really important when it came to building a sustainable business until years later.
It wasn’t until I had already spent tens of thousands of dollars in my self education, years of time plugging the holes, connecting the dots and deeply understanding some important truths for myself…
That I realised the fundamentals of marketing is based on effective communication.
Read on to hear my story of…
How I attracted my first 5 Star Prospect without effort…
The optimism and excitement of quitting my job and starting a new business turned into stress, anxiety and overwhelm as the reality of running a business sunk in…
I got sales but they’re inconsistent.
I wore 18 different hats, and juggled lots of new tasks I was not naturally good at…
And I had no one to blame…
I created my own shitty job that I hated.
I found myself working longer and longer hours…
Feelings of loneliness and isolation crept in…
I was on my way to burning out, getting pulled in all directions trying to do everything myself.
From incessantly networking, building relationships, promoting my services, having ‘coffee chats’ and sales meetings with prospects to delivering the work, answering customer service questions, managing outsourcers and dealing with operational issues late into the night.
It seemed like the original reason I decided to work for myself to have independence and control over my time, my income and my life became a distant dream.
Initially, I thought “I just need more leads!”…
I thought “more leads” and “more sales” was the answer to my problems.
Except… the problems I was experiencing from the inefficient and inconsistent sales process to the chaotic backend operations were really just symptoms of a deeper problem.
While I had clients I enjoyed working with… I also worked with clients who were not a great fit.
Some of them caused more headaches and more problems in my day to day operations and made life hell for me.
Pain-in-the-ass clients were dragging me and my business down.
My business became difficult and chaotic to run. And I found myself in a constant state of stress and overwhelm, teetering on the edge of burnout.
It’s a shitty place to live and operate.
Because I didn’t have an efficient way to weed out low quality prospects that became pain-in-the-ass clients.
Because I didn’t understand that NOT all customers are created equal.
That was the REAL problem.
The problem was created by the way prospects and customers came into my business.
It was adhoc, and it was random.
I started resenting my business because I didn’t grasp the impact of upstream problems that created more downstream problems in my business.
It’s no wonder I ended up hating the business I had built, because I’m the type of person that prefers to be calm, ordered and organised. I didn’t want to be fighting fires because it’s exhausting.
It’s also no surprise that my client conversion results were a crapshoot because I sucked at selling.
Sales never came naturally to me.
Selling created a lot of emotional resistance, because I was afraid of coming across as salesy or pushy.
To make things worse… I’m also introverted.
So meeting new people and talking to people was a real challenge for me.
It felt as if…
The more I tried hard to push forward and grow my business, the more I backed myself into a corner, and the harder I needed to run on the hamster wheel.
Drowning in stress, overwhelm and chaos made me rethink what I was doing.
How can I differentiate myself to stand out?
So I can show up differently from all the marketing agencies and marketing service providers out there?
How can I automate selling?
If I can systemise my prospect conversion process and create more consistency, then I won’t have to be stuck in the drudgery of having sales conversations I was terrible at.
How can I position myself in advance?
So I can lead prospects to come to their own conclusion that I was THE PERSON they’ve been looking for and want to work with before they talk to me?
I thought about the ideal results I wanted as I attempted to solve my own problem.
I started with the end in mind.
Asking myself these questions became the catalyst in how I flipped the switch and learned to approach marketing and selling a different way.
It dawned on me that the best way to solve my problem was with education based marketing (EBM) content.
“Crap!…” was the first thought that came to mind when that realisation clicked.
When it came to marketing…
The one thing I struggled with the most back then was creating content.
In fact, I actively avoided it because I hated writing.
The thought of it alone was enough to stress me out because I had so much fear and anxiety around writing.
But the only way out was through…
“Do or die”.
With my back against the wall… I put my big girl pants on and sucked it up.
I had to play games with myself…
I had to psyche myself up just to be able to sit down and write…
I kept reminding myself about the end result I wanted as I created the type of marketing content my business needed.
The type of content that:
- Allowed me to thoroughly educate my prospects.
- Prospects would appreciate and find valuable.
- Help them make smarter and more intelligent decisions about working with someone like me in my industry.
- Stood out with generosity and served them.
- Positioned the value of my services in advance.
I knew that people who appreciate the knowledge and insights I was willing to share with them, would be the right prospects for me.
That was how I wanted to differentiate myself in the marketing “red ocean”.
I wanted them to have no doubt in their mind that I was the specialist they wanted to work with.
So, I decided to create a Buyer’s Guide.
Because I wanted to attract better buyers.
The writing process took weeks…
It felt like forever.
Once I finished editing the final draft, I spent extra time formatting, and hired a designer to create a nice cover to make it look professional.
Not long after I finished creating the Buyer’s Guide for my business…
An email landed in my inbox.
It was an enquiry from a new prospect…
A referral from someone I met through networking.
Straight away, it was obvious to me that the referral was still a somewhat-cold-lead because the person who referred me didn’t qualify the lead before sending her to me.
She had no clue how I was different from other online marketing service providers or marketing agencies.
When people ask you about your price right off the bat, it means they don’t understand your value!
Regardless if they’re a referral or not.
She appeared to be a tire kicker.
Alarm bells went off in my head as I read her email.
To me she was an unqualified lead, and I didn’t want to spend time talking to her unless I know she was serious about solving her problem and hiring someone like me to help her.
This was the exact situation I wanted to eliminate from my sales process.
I was done with prospects asking me about my price right up front without getting to know me, understanding what I do or how I’m different!
That’s what drove me to create the Buyer’s Guide in the first place.
Because I wanted to weed out the wrong people… and attract the right people to me.
I wanted to make sure she was serious about considering hiring me to solve her problem before I invested my time talking to her.
It was the perfect situation to test out my system on this ‘cold referral lead’.
So I replied to her email and deployed my strategy.
If she was a tire kicker, then I knew I wouldn’t hear from her again.
However, if she was a quality prospect and resonated with my message, then she would respond to my email after reading the guide and identify herself as a 5 Star Prospect.
To my surprise, she responded an hour later!
Here’s an important takeaway:
5 Star Prospects know what they want, make decisions quickly and are ready to solve their problems.
She transformed herself from a cold referral lead into a hot prospect without me exerting my energy, effort and time.
She showed her appreciation in her response and asked to set up a meeting with me.
So I set up a meeting with her a week later.
That meeting became…
The easiest sales meeting I’ve ever had…
I didn’t need to do any convincing.
I didn’t even need to sell.
She felt confident that I was the right person to help her solve her problem before I even walked into her office to meet her for the very first time.
Because all the positioning has already been done in advance.
When I showed up at her office, she greeted me with a warm and friendly smile.
To her, I wasn’t another pesky salesperson or stranger.
I was a trusted advisor.
Because trust has already been established.
All I did was continue to deliver more value in our meeting…
I diagnosed the problems I found in her Google ads and I showed her how I was going to help her fix it so she can generate better quality traffic to her site.
She was very appreciative of all the insights I shared with her.
By the end of that sales meeting, she was excited to start working with me.
I couldn’t believe the difference the Buyer’s Guide made to my sales process.
It was literally night and day!
The hard work I put into writing, editing, structuring and producing the Buyer’s Guide has paid off handsomely.
I didn’t just create any ol’ piece of content…
I created a marketing asset that did all the “selling in advance” for me…
So selling became unnecessary.
“The job of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” — Peter Drucker
I sent her my proposal a few days later.
She paid my $1,750 set up fee and ended up doing $4,500 worth of business with me until 2015.
That one single marketing asset changed the game for me.
It helped me understand the power of communication and the power of words.
I knew I could stop having awkward sales conversations with uncommitted, half-interested prospects for good because I had a quality prospect conversion system I can rely on.
I knew I had a valuable asset I can use over and over again to give me the consistency and predictability I wanted.
My Takeaways (4 Lessons):
- The profound difference between attracting business versus chasing business. It was the first time I experienced the dynamics of “pulling” the right prospect towards me instead of “pushing” my services onto them.
- Education is the best type of marketing you can do. I’ve come to understand the importance of messaging, copy and producing strategic content properly because of the leverage it created for me.
- The value of serving and putting my prospect’s needs first before my own.
- The power of having an effective system at work that not only eliminated drudgery from my day, but produced lucrative and predictable results.
That experience put me on my path, where I eventually decided to hone my writing and communication skills over the next 5 years.
If you want to be “given the fish”, because you don’t have the time, the skills nor the desire to learn how to develop a Buyer’s Guide for your business so you can predictably attract high quality prospects, then hire me to develop one specifically for your business.
I’ll handle the entire project for you, so it’s pain free, stress free and no fuss.