Business – any business, from brick and mortar to online, has often been compared to dating…and with good reason! If you think about it, they’re very similar. Savvy business owners know that you have to attract your client by making yourself stand out somehow against your competition. Once you’ve managed to attract that client, you have to work to build a meaningful relationship and hope it all works out, or deal with the heartache (and lost revenue.)
The folks at Infusionsoft sent out a list of the 5 mistakes most frequently made by both business owners and members of the dating world. Their list was cute and I’ll include it here, roughly paraphrased:
Mistake #1: Not Calling After A Date
At the risk of being sexist, let me just ask: Ladies, have you ever waited for a phone call after a date? Then you’ll understand what I mean when I say “failure to follow up.” Unfortunately, failure to follow up doesn’t only happen in the dating world; follow up failure is a frequent happening in the business world, too.
Failure to follow up in business usually happens because business owners don’t fully understand that it can take an average of 5 exposures to your business before a prospect makes a purchase. In fact, most consumers (81%) don’t buy until on or after the 5th contact and 67% of leads that we consider “dead” will buy within one year.
If you are one of the many who believe that if a prospect doesn’t purchase the first time around then you’ve lost them for good, you’re missing out on a LOT of business! Instead of focusing only on “hot” leads, follow up with every lead; you can’t afford to let any lead slip through your fingers. The best way to maintain a good follow up system is with an autoresponder , marketing automation system, or a CRM tool.
Mistake #2: Moving Too Fast
Nothing splashes a bucket of cold water on a hot first date faster than a marriage proposal! As tempting as it is to want to rush things when you make a connection with someone special, slow down! Rushing things isn’t the answer.
The same is true for business. When we find a hot lead, we want to rush to the sale before it slips away, but this doesn’t usually have the outcome we’d hoped for; in fact, it generally leads to “vomiting” all over the prospect and that (as you might imagine) is a turn off.
Instead, take time to educate your prospects about the benefits of your product or service and about the benefits of doing business with you! Use social proof through customer testimonials or case studies to show them how you’ve been able to make many others happy. Most importantly, let your prospects experience the benefits of your products for themselves so that they understand that they simply can’t go another day without you! This will ensure that when it’s time to tie the knot, your relationship will last a lifetime.
(A word to the wise on the dating scene: letting that special someone know how you’ve been able to make many others happy doesn’t usually work to your advantage. This tip is best applied to business prospects only!)
Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Deal Breakers
In the dating world a “deal breaker” is an issue that can’t be overlooked and ultimately causes the relationship to fail. Knowing your deal breakers can save you a lot of time and unnecessary heartache, especially during the sales process.
Take the time to determine what qualities your prospect must have to be a good fit for your product or service. For example, if you sell dog sweaters, you could safely determine that your prospect must own a dog. Put measures in place to filter out leads that don’t meet your requirements. This will allow you to focus your time and energy on your ideal prospects.
Mistake #4: Settling For Mr./Mrs Right Now Instead of Waiting For Mr./Mrs. Right
When we hit a dry spell, either in dating or in sales, it’s easy to start seeing Mr./Mrs. Right in any potential customer, no matter how poor a fit they really are (for you or for your business.)
But settling for the wrong customer can be an expensive waste of time and money. Not only will you miss great opportunities to keep your best customers happy, but you’ll probably spend a lot of time running around in circles trying to satisfy a high-maintenance prospect with possible “deal breakers.”
Don’t waste your time chasing every deal that comes along. Instead, take the time to create a profile for your ideal customer. What does he or she like to do, where do they hang out? Spend your time (or advertising dollars) where they do. Knowing this information will boost your chance of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Mistake #5: Not Asking For Referrals
In the dating world, you’re more likely to find that special someone when introduced by a mutual friend. Naturally, you’ll hear “he/she’s perfect for you” only to find that you’ve got nothing in common, but by and large, you’ll find that you have a better chance of hitting it off with someone who comes recommended by a friend.
The same goes for prospecting in the business world. You are more likely to find a successful relationship if a friend (i.e. partner, affiliate, customer) initiates the introduction. When a prospect comes in through a referral, they know others who have already worked with you. They know that your products and/or services are valuable, and there is a certain level of trust already established based on the experiences of the person that referred them. This is your best chance for a successful conversion.
By avoiding these 5 mistakes, you’ll set the stage for a successful relationship, whether business or personal and enjoy many years of mutual bliss.