What’s the kiss of death for any business?
Sorry to hit you with that, but stupid questions deserve stupid answers. The reason why 80% of businesses fail isn’t because these products and services aren’t good enough to sell. It’s because they aren’t marketed and sold properly.
So what then, is the biggest landmine businesses trip over in sales (especially businesses that have sold well before but experience a dip)?
Well the Rule of Three will tell you that.
Any good realistic sales manager (which is a rare oxymoron because traditionally the best sellers have a healthy serving of delusion when it comes to their capabilities), will tell you that you can divide your sales leads into three. No matter how good you are, or how good your conversion rate is, the numbers rarely lie.
The Rule of Three tells you this:
I’ve always been a firm believer that the more often people post motivational quotes with a Lion or a Wolf backdrop on their social media, the more likely they are to be broke.
There are two types of people in the world under this particular paradigm: Doers, and Talkers.
LMNT is a brand. It’s a sigil for real entrepreneurs. For people who aren’t afraid to get home from work at 5, train until 6:30, shower, eat if they can remember, then smash away on the computer until 11pm only to sleep and repeat the next day on their way to launching their business.
We’re for grinders. For divers. You know who I’m talking about; the head-first reckless abandon shoot-first-ask-questions-later killers out there. I’ll tell you something every great entrepreneur out there already knows:
You’ll never learn more about anything than if you jump straight in the deep end. A good entrepreneur bites off as much as they can chew. A great entrepreneur bites off way more than they can chew, and then chews like hell and asks for more.
It’s why versus why not.
“I have this really good idea/product/service. I just need to wait so that I can research what my best moves are. I need to save X amount. I need to blah blah blah.” Who’s heard that before?
From decades working and excelling in branding, we can comfortably say that far and away the most important element to consider in what your brand should represent, is trust.
Because that’s what a brand is. It’s trust.
Customers trust your brand to deliver on their expectations; it’s one of the main reasons they buy from you in the first place. The work and money you put into influencing customers’ emotions, in order to anchor certain feelings to your brand and its offering; is for the customer to trust that your name will give them what they want and what they think it will represent to themselves and others.
Does that sound too simplistic? That’s because it is.
What’s Nike? It’s victory, it’s integrity, it’s peak performance. When you buy a pair of Nike skins, you trust that product to make you perform better and to help you win at whatever it is you’re going to do. They spend stupid amounts of money to sponsor the best athletes in the world to anchor your image of athletic success to their products, then they deliver on that trust by selling you tested products that make you look and feel like a good athlete.
What’s Mercedes? Safety among other things. Who buys Mercs? Rich Dads whose daughter just got her licence. They trust that product to protect their little girl. And that little girl is going to grow up to go from one sponsor to the next, a rich husband who’ll buy her an even bigger Mercedes. Cycle of life. Rich guy marries hot woman, has daughters who grow up to be hot and marry rich guys to have even richer, kids who grow up to be even hotter. Mercs all around! But that’s neither here nor there (And yes, there are probably equally as many Mums buying their little soldiers Mercs too)
Trust is the nucleus of any brand. And adding it to your business in meaningful ways will be the difference between your success or failure.
You’re a start-up business, or you’re a small business, or maybe a medium or large business. What’s the best way to add trust into your business and brand?
Look the part in every way you can.
People trust professionalism. What does that mean? It means if you haven’t already, you need to find a way to address the amateur elements that may be lingering in your business. Here are the most common ones that can affect your marketing and brand.
What you need to understand is that contact points are marketing materials in their own right. Each one of these a customer experiences can vastly shape their perception of your business.
Let’s play a game. It’s called “which brand and business do you trust more?”
The rules are easy. Pick which of these head to head matchups you would be more likely to trust to deliver great and lasting results and do the job right or represent a brand well:
Getting rid of amateur habits is a must if you want to grow your business. People will automatically think you aren’t capable of big jobs, they won’t trust your quality, and you won’t be able to justify high prices based on perceived quality of work.
Let’s put it this way. If you rocked up for an appointment with a financial planner, and he came to the meeting driving a 1999 Hyundai Excel, how would you react? You’d hightail it out of there quicker than seeing an ex before they saw you. Because how the hell could you put your trust for your financial future in the hands of a person who looks like they aren’t good with money?
Imagine you’re selling your house, and the Real Estate Agent walks through the door in a singlet, boardies and a pair of thongs. Will you trust that person and brand to make your house appealing to the point it will generate the best price? No. Because they aren’t dressed the part to earn that trust. They can’t display the professionalism you need in order to trust them.
Same goes for your business. Look the way you need for your ideal clients to be able to trust you, and you’ll get your ideal clients. Simple as that.
Success breeds success. Sacrifice that extra dough to buy your business the suit and sexy car it needs to make it look like it’s big and doing well. Don’t cut corners; those big contracts might just roll in.
Interested in 1300 Numbers for your business? Check out www.prodesk.com
“Technology takes the romance out of life.”
One of my all time favourite quotes, from one of my all time favourite quote machines: Winston Churchill.
Immediately when I hear that quote I think of things like tinder, plenty of fish, and whatever other money and effort saving ways for people to get together. Personally I’m old school. If I’m going to meet members of the opposite sex, I want to get borderline inappropriately drunk in a club and mix awful dance moves with what I overestimate as witty banter. That’s where the magic is.
I’ve never been a tinder advocate. I’ve always held belief that it’s like a rear view mirror. Objects are larger than they appear. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of 20-20 cricket players out there who love banging fours and sixes, but hey, diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks right?
Anyway, sometimes it’s not a sacrifice people are willing to make. That’s one I give a big old Simon Cowell ‘No’ to. But I use an electric razor, adamantly. But somewhere right now, as you read this, there’s a hipster coffee brewer/aspiring custom footrest maker who is taking just over an hour to trim around his beard with a cutthroat razor. We don’t judge.
The point I’m making is that sometimes automation works for some people and businesses, sometimes it doesn’t. Of course there’s going to be sacrifices in that endeavour when it comes to personal touch, but more often than not the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Certainly not for all, especially anyone who comes up to you claiming they have the Uber of something. Uber empowered everyday people to topple a monopolised, tyrannical industry while feeding themselves in the process. That whole thing is best summed up in a Southpark video. If you have the time, youtube “What you don’t like vomit?” I’ve never seen a more succinct summary of the Taxi industry. Anyway, superseding industries has been around for a very long time. Netflix, digital photography, youtube, pornhub. You name it. Your product isn’t the Uber of something, it’s just a neat idea you should have a crack at. We’re all for confidence, but originality is better.
Sorry, that was a long tangent but I had to get that off my chest. Where was I?
Oh yeah, sometimes you lose a personal touch. Things like direct sales, charities, real estate, that stuff is immortal. No amount of modern automation will cannibalise it. Otherwise Jehovas Witnesses would be all online by now. Can you imagine that? A Facebook pop up ad asking you “DO YOU HAVE A SECOND TO TALK ABOUT OUR LORD AND SAVIOR?” Probably not getting an awful lot of clicks. That’s where the whole Technology Rape thing comes in. In this case, religion is like a penis, it’s fine if you have one but when you whip it out and wave it in my face, we’re gonna have some problems. What I’m saying is that those industries don’t have permission to push that. Where’s my rape whistle?
So is automation for your business Rape or Romance?
Bottom line, ask yourself:
Do you or your industry have consent to automate?
Bastard was the right word. If I were to say ‘Branding’s a Bitch’, I’d have picked the wrong word.
‘Branding’s a Bitch’ implies that it’s hard work, that it’s vengeful, that it’s bitter. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s all of those things. If an athlete gets busted for drugs or doping, their brand is tarnished forever. Michael Phelps rips a bong and he loses millions in sponsorships. Years of dedicated work undone in an instant. They actually polled big businesses to see the most important credential they look for in an athlete to sponsor. The top factor wasn’t championships, physique, intellect. No, overwhelmingly the most important factor they look for is ‘does not do drugs’.
Years, decades of branding can be undone in a day. Then branding’s a bitch.
Sometimes, however, branding is only too easy. Sometimes it is so easy that it can’t be stopped. And more often than not, then it becomes a bastard....
LMNT is the Entrepreneur's own brand. Business as a way of life; success as second nature.