Growing business, lessons from gardeners. Lesson 5.

A gardener will always sow a lot more seeds than she needs in the expectation that some will not germinate. It’s the same with marketing, not all our prospects will become customers.seeds

In the same way that seedlings need thinning so that the strongest survive so we need to focus on those prospects who are most likely to convert. No business can sell to everyone. We need to understand who will be great customers and focus on them.

What are the common features of your best customers?

What kind of person or business would make a really good customer for you? Take a look at your best customers. What are their common characteristics? How can you find more people like them? Concentrate on them.

Research suggests that it costs 5-10 times more to convert a new customer than to sell to an existing one and that existing customers will spend around 67% more than new ones. How can you persuade your existing customers to spend more with you? Could you get them to buy more often, to buy a different product or service or to invest in your premium offer? Make sure that marketing to your existing customers is a top priority.

Not every opportunity is worth chasing

It’s very easy to be distracted into chasing every opportunity but some are just not worth the chase. They spend little, expect more and complain the most and that saps our energy and enthusiasm. A bit like the thuggish plant that grabs all the light and water and takes over the bed!

Deciding which ‘seedlings’ to thin out can be tricky. Some people will only ever take your free offer, some may take years to convert, some may not convert themselves but may refer others to you. Working out who will do what is not easy. You could ask them a direct question to establish what interest, in what timescale, they might have in what you are offering. In the absence of a straight answer my advice is to leave people on your email marketing list for as long as they will let you or whilst they are opening at least some of your emails. If they are not at all interested they will unsubscribe (make sure you are making that easy for them to do, it’s the law in many countries).

Keep on nurturing

Concentrate on nurturing those who have shown interest and especially those who have bought in the past. Contact them regularly.  Personalise your offer. Speak to them, don’t rely on blanket emails. Call them, invite them to coffee or a networking or social event. Work at the relationship and don’t give up too soon. Remember even expert marketers can take a year to convert a prospect into a customer!

So what will you do to nurture your ‘seedlings’ this week? Who will you call? What will be in your newsletter? What offer could you make to your existing customers to persuade them to buy more?


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