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March 19, 2014

If you build it, will they come? Not necessarily!

cup_of_coffeeAs I write this, I’m sitting in a coffeeshop that opened about 3 weeks ago.  It’s in a fairly busy shopping center along a well-traveled road, has the latest barista tools and they even roasts their own beans in the back of the store.

And I’m the only one sitting here.  OK, it’s Sunday morning at 8am, but even when I’ve driven by at “normal hours,” I’ve never seen more than one table full.  Good location… good product… even a unique POD (Point of Differentiation) – the roaster.  So, why is that?

It all goes back to one of marketing’s irrefutable fundamentals… potential customers can’t do business with you if they don’t know you exist.  This store owner hasn’t spent any effort on signage, a decent website, a Facebook page and I don’t think he’s done any kind of advertising, direct mail or handing out circulars.

So, how did I end up here in this coffeeshop?  Like a lot of buyers find their suppliers… I stumbled across it.  I was having dinner at the restaurant a few doors down and had to drive past the front of the shop looking for a parking space.  Had the parking lot not been full that evening, I never would have seen it.

Now look at your company – you have great services, a great staff, maybe a true POD and good group of clients… but you’re not getting to that next level.  Why is that?  Think about this… how are your clients are finding you?  Is there “stumbling” involved?!

Answer these questions…

  • Can you define the target markets/verticals you serve?
  • Can you identify the best kinds of companies to do business with?
  • Can you describe the “persona” of your ideal buyer?

Assuming you can, then the first step in your marketing & sales process must be building awareness!  Think about all the ways that you can let all of those buyers in all of those companies in all of those industries know you exist (website, advertising, email, social media, networking, content creation, etc.).

But building awareness isn’t just about having a presence and ‘hoping’ potential clients find you.  It’s about pro-actively telling people that you exist, what you do and why they should do business with you.  It’s about delivering your message in the places that your potentials clients are most likely to see it.  And it’s about delivering that message on a regular & consistent basis over a period of time.

If potential clients don’t know that you exist, they’ll never submit an inquiry… which will never become a sales lead… which you’ll never get to nurture… which will never result in a bid. Bottom line: building your business starts with building awareness!

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