You wake up in the morning, gather your weapons and head out to combat. Some days you come back with a boar, other days your family goes hungry. The pressure is on you every single day to make the 'catch'. It's a battle.
Now imagine yourself as a farmer...
You plant your seeds and wait for them to harvest. In the meantime, you nurture them and treat them like your baby. When they're ready you simply start harvesting your crop.
In my experience, most businesses are hunters not farmers:
- They cold call to generate new customers.
- They spend forever getting a new customer and then forget about them.
- They chase after the quick fix.
- They advertise for the direct sale rather than the 'shy yes' which will germinate in the future.
This became blindingly obvious to me when I created some copy for real estate agents a few years ago.
- I would write an ad offering a free report.
- Without fail, they would receive calls from those ads.
However if the sale didn't come off right away... they would
-NOT put them on a database
-NOT follow them up
-NOT nurture them
... even though they had responded to an ad which identified them as their specific target market.
... even though each sale was worth several thousand dollars
... even though it would cost less than $12 a year to keep in touch with them
Why not? Well, I believe it's because we live in a world of instant gratification.
I remember reading a book, a long time ago now, by M.Scott Peck which said one of the keys to happiness was to be able to delay your gratification. In a marketing sense, that means...
Accept the fact people may not buy right away
Put them on a database
Mail them something every month to stay in touch and position yourself as an expert
And like a farmer, wait for that customer to harvest. (of course you can touch base with them by phone in the meantime and nurture the relationship personally)
Most people won't do it. It's too much work. Writing letters & keeping in touch. They would prefer to knock their head against a brick wall cold calling and doing things the hard way because at least they feel like they're keeping busy.
But by doing this... you're being ineffective. I know because that's how I used to operate. Heck, two of my first jobs were as a door to door salesperson (selling cleaning chemicals to businesses) and a telemarketer (selling hotel cards) and I can tell you that business gets a lot more enjoyable when you are...
- an invited guest (when others call you because you have educated them of the benefits of your services)
- an uninvited pest (where you cold call and use other archaic marketing methods)
The most important thing you can take away from this message is to become a farmer. How do you do this? Simple:
1. Build a database
2. Nurture your database
... and prepare yourself for a rich harvest in the near future.