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Build it and they will come? Wrong. Here's a better way that's proven to work

Build it and they will come? Wrong. Here's a better way that's proven to work

June 02, 2011

Quick Quiz: Let's say Mr. and Mrs. Jones own a home improvement company and their sales are down from last year. Their #1 goal is to increase sales. But they don't know how. What's the first thing they should examine?

a) Pricing
b) Messaging in their marketing or advertising
c) Services they offer
d) Their prospects
e) Feedback from customers
f) None of the above

I'll give you the answer in a moment.

But first, this is a very common problem, especially in our current economy. We see it time and time again with clients who are wrestling with this very same dilemma: How do you turn around declining sales so you can grow the business?

Unfortunately, most business owners start tinkering with the pricing. Or they feel that if they just found those magic words to use in the marketing and advertising then all of a sudden they'll see a flood of new customers coming through the doors. Or they start looking at the products or services they have to offer and ask: What can we sell quickly and easily to boost our sales?


'Build it and they will come,' may have worked in the movie 'Field of Dreams' but it doesn't always work in real life. Why? Because solutions like that are based on your perceptions of what might work ' not your prospects.

'Build it and they will come,' is the refrain we often hear. Well, that may have worked well in the movie 'Field of Dreams' but it doesn't always work in real life. Why?
Because solutions like those mentioned above are all based on your perceptions of what might work, not your prospects.

That's why the first place you always want to begin is with your prospects or what I call your 'hungry fish.' So if you answered 'd' in our quiz, you're correct! Give yourself a gold star.

Why do you want to focus on your 'hungry fish' first? Because if you understand what they want or need, you can build your products, services and offering around solving them. Every good sales person knows it's easier to sell somebody something they want or need. If you're selling hamburgers who are your best prospects? People who are hungry!

Same is true with any product or service you sell. You want to sell to those who are most hungry ' and then show them how you can satisfy their hunger.
Here are 3 simple steps to help you identify your 'hungry fish' and determine their wants or needs.

1. Clearly define your 'hungry fish.'

Who are they? If you're in a B2B market, you'll want to determine the industry segment(s) they're in, company revenue, number of employees and then drill down to your fish's title, responsibility, status within the company, income level, etc. If you're in a B2C market, determine where they live, their age, gender, race, marital status, family size, household income, etc. Your goal is to know everything you can about your ideal target market so you can best understand their wants and needs, which leads me to the next point.

2. What's their pain?

What challenges are your 'hungry fish' dealing with? Here's a great question to ask: What's keeping them up at nights? Be as specific as possible. Once you've identified their pain, you can move onto the solutions.

3. How can you solve their challenge or ease their pain?

This is where you'll start to come up with solutions - products, services and offers you can create that will be a lot easier to sell to your 'hungry fish.'

That last point is critical. That's why I like to refer to another great quote from 'Field of Dreams' in which Kevin Costner's character Ray Kinsella had a vision to turn his Iowa farm into a baseball field so he could 'ease his pain.' Hopefully, you don't have to go great lengths like Ray did to ease the pain among your hungry fish.

But wouldn't it be nice to see miles of customers coming to you to learn more about your product or service?

Try these 3 simple steps. It works for our clients every day. And I'm betting it will work for you too.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman, President