The #1 job of a Business Owner

Hint: It's not being the best doer of the thing you do

People don’t buy from you for one of two reasons:

  1. They’ve never heard of you.

  2. They have heard of you.

If #2 is your issue you better have a lot of money for more marketing and a crisis management expert…and stay off of social media because you’re certainly being skewered there.

So let’s discuss the causes of #1 so you can then cure them and grow your sales.

Why people don’t buy from you, Cause #1:

You’ve been lied to

People will not beat a path to your door just because you build a better mousetrap.

Even that “quote” was written years after Emerson’s death by a salesman/marketer named Elbert Hubbard, who attributed it to Emerson to give it more gravitas.

Most entrepreneurs spend 99% of their time, money, and effort inventing the best gizmo the world has ever seen, and their 1% of “marketing” is maybe telling some friends or posting a picture of the gizmo on Facebook.

After months, or maybe even years, of inspiration, hope, and toil…they return to their day job with a garage filled with prototypes that will mock them for many more years until they either find a marketer who can help get the word out…or their spouse makes them throw it all away to make room for the family minivan.

Why people don’t buy from you, Cure #1:

Shift your percentages

Way back in episode 92 of The Sales Podcast, I had entrepreneur Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed In a Noisy World, as a guest, and we discussed this exact topic.

I told him that you should focus 90% of your efforts on marketing and 10% on product development.

While he disagreed with the percentages, he agreed that most entrepreneurs focus too little on marketing, which is why they fail. (Can you guess what percentage he recommended you spend on marketing? You’ll be blown away by his thoughts on getting a Ph.D. vs. writing a book. Check out the Michael Hyatt interview.)

Why people don’t buy from you, Cause #2:

You feel icky about sales and marketing…because you’ve been lied to

Yes, icky is a technical term used in the best business schools, such as Wharton and the Harvard MBA program…or at least I’ve been told it is.

Because you’ve been lied to, you think honorable and smart and productive contributors to society are inventors and tinkerers, not sleazy, manipulative, lying, fancy-suit-wearing Mad Men who only care about taking the last nickel out of your grandmother’s wallet through whatever marketing means necessary.

So you don’t focus on advertising, marketing, or selling…and you struggle.

Why people don’t buy from you, Cure #2:

Commit to the fight

While there are many low-down, dirty marketers in the world, you won’t beat them by hiding behind your garage filled with inventory.

You have to fight fire with fire and market yourself to “get noticed in a noisy world.”

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to resort to lies or manipulated data or half-truths, but you do need to recognize that:

Great marketing makes sales easy. Great selling makes great marketing possible.

McDonald’s can consistently serve 68,000,000 customers per day in 119 countries through 36,538 outlets with a bunch of pimply-faced, hormone-raging teenagers and 300% turnover because they have great marketing and only need order-takers and simple-task performers.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Ray Kroc was a salesman, first and foremost. The McDonald brothers were his Multi-Mixer clients. 

The rest is history.

Know Your Entrepreneurial History

All great businesses had a great salesperson who implemented great marketing to become the leaders in their industry.

In Henry Ford’s Wikipedia listing it says about the Model T that “Ford created a huge publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and ads about the new product.” 

Then there’s Apple’s “1984 ad” that announced to the world that Apple was here to stay. (Wozniak wanted to give their code away in the mid-70s. Steve Jobs had a different idea.)

What do you have to offer the world that would change the world—or at least your corner of it—if only more people heard about it?

What will you do today to make sure those in your world know how wonderful you are…or will you let “those other guys” continue to swindle everyone with their poorly made but more visible offering?

The choice is yours. 

If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:

Market like you mean it.

Now go sell something.

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