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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

Related posts

There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

Marketing With A Cause

(Image by runrunrun)

Success Snake Oil – Know When You’re Getting Scammed

We’re always on the lookout for good coaches. So last week, we had two phone calls that we want to share with you — one good, one bad. But there are lessons to be learned from both of them. Specifically, we want to discuss when it’s worth spending your time and money, and when you should run … and run fast!

  • If they don’t live up to their promises, even in the sales call …. run!
  • In what turned out to be the bad call, we were promised a one-on-one conversation with an internet expert. It turned out to be nothing but a scripted sales call.

    The good call, on the other hand, was a conversation. It was exactly what we were promised it would be … and more! It was personal. He had done research on us and our web site. It was what coaching should be.

  • If there’s lots of conversation, but almost no information … run!
  • With the bad call, we’re still not sure how their program works. Even though we were on the phone for about an hour. Details were sketchy. Answers to questions were vague. The most popular answer seemed to be, “That’s proprietary.” We weren’t given any details about the credentials of our would-be coach.

    The good phone call was completely opposite. We know exactly what we’re going to get, after only thirty minutes. We were given advice that we’re already using. And the price tag is much less.

  • If you’re told you have to make a decision now … run!
  • We were immediately cajoled with the bad call to make a decision on the spot. We told them that we don’t operate that way. They pressed on. Our experience shows that the best decisions are thoughtfully made after consideration – not an on-the-spot emotional decision. If you’re being asked to make a decision immediately, your best response is usually going to be “no”.

    Our coach on the good call didn’t ask for an immediate decision – in fact, he is so confident in what he has to offer, he suggested that we should not make an immediate decision. However, he still gave his advice freely!

  • If they’re playing mind games with you … run!
  • Build you up, tear you down, wear you out. That was the process we experienced with the bad call. Don’t fall for it.

    We were offered words of encouragement with the good call. We were also given some constructive criticism, which was very helpful. Constructive criticism is great; just tearing you down to make a sale is not. If you don’t understand the difference, reread the first three points!

We could go on, but these are the highlights of our discussion. Hopefully, you’ll find these helpful the next time you’re trying to buy something.

Our quote today is by Thomas Jefferson.

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, ‘til you know there is no hook beneath it.”

So don’t get hooked … if it smells fishy, it probably is.

Next time, we get a visit from Santa. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!