Attention Small Businesses: Do This One Thing to Gain New Customers

I got your attention right? How? I asked for it. I have been doing a lot of research lately on how to gain more customers (in my case readers), and out of all the countless hours of webinars, videos, books, and articles, I found one common thread among many different theories and pieces of advice: if you want someones attention, you have to ask for it.

Honestly, at first, I kind of rebelled against the idea. It can’t be that simple and straightforward can it? Where is the marketing magic? Plus, I never want to come across as pushy or manipulative. However, after thinking the whole idea through, I realized that it made perfect sense. I believe that I have a product, my writing, that will benefit my readers and I want people to take advantage of what I am offering to better themselves and their businesses.

I am sure that the same thing is true for you. You’re in business because you believe that you have a product or service that will help others. The problem is that you don’t know how to get people’s attention long enough to show them how you can help. I have had the same frustration, but here is what I have learned. The best way to attract attention is to tell people what you do and offer your services to potential customers, as clearly and precisely as possible. This rule holds true whether you are selling online or in person.

Today, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of sales techniques cluttering up people’s attention span. Entertainment has become advertisement, education turns into a sales pitch, and freebees turn into gotchas. We don’t know who to trust anymore, so we walk around with our BS finder on high alert at all times. Shoot, a few years ago, I walked into what I thought was an interview for a management job, but turned out to be a sales pitch for a multi-level marketing company (not bashing MLM’s, just that technique). Just a few days ago, I wasted almost a half-hour watching a free video that was supposed to tell me the secret to increasing my readership…the secret turned out to be that I needed to enroll in a course that cost thousands of dollars. Giving away real value to gain the respect and confidence of your potential customers is a great idea, but betraying that trust with a bait and switch that never really provides any real value just makes us that much more skeptical of the world we live in.

So, you want to gain new customers, you want to grab the attention of new prospects, then get to the point already. Tell me from the very beginning what you have to offer and how much it is going to cost. I know, old school sales techniques say never give away the price until prospects see the value, but the truth is we are too busy for games. If you have a $1,000 program or product, tell me that upfront. If I am in the market, the price won’t bother me, but if I am not looking for what you have to offer, why waste your time and mine with gimmicks and sales techniques?

Today, I won’t sit down with a potential client without first having told them the basic outline of the pricing for my branding, web design, and marketing services. The truth is if they can’t afford me (and I am really not that expensive), then why waste their time or mine? Let’s all learn to be a lot more forthright in our sales process. Spend time finding customers who want and can afford your services; don’t go trying to cast a wide net in hopes of manipulating people into becoming interested in what you have to offer. I truly believe that there is a customer base for virtually any product or service being sold, but don’t go trying to convert nonbelievers. Instead, find your true champions, the people that actually are looking for what you are offering. These are the people that will buy your product, promote your product, and become your greatest ally instead of a frustrated recipient of an over-hyped and time-consuming sales process.