“Sell It, Girl”

Girl in Heels

Today’s blog is based on a conversation had with a colleague yesterday. It began like this: “Claire, I have talked with so many people who need you, and I tell them they need you, and they aren’t GETTING it. What else can I say?” He was talking with a number of entrepreneurs who own small-ish service companies, and they all have terrible marketing materials and websites. They also have something else in common: no marketing budget and no plan to turn their heads from time to time to look into that blindspot. And there is a big truck in that blind spot this April—as of the 21st, non-mobile friendly websites will begin sinking on Google rankings. What’s a little guy to do?

I love this kind of potential client: the “little guy”. Not just because I am one myself but because for them, a little marketing investment goes a long way towards success. So I engage in these conversations frequently, where one entrepreneur (who has invested in good marketing and reaped the rewards) is encouraging his compatriots to do the same. But even if you’re a trusted friend selling someone on a great idea, and for their own good, the pitch matters.

My colleague told me he opens his laptop and loads the unfortunate website in front of its unfortunate owner, saying “Look at this—what do you think this says about you?”  It’s a beautifully blunt maneuver, fitting the style of this beautifully blunt man. But it’s not really working. As we discussed the characters on the other side, I reminded my colleague of the first and most important question: Do they need more business? At least one of them did not; he was actually afraid that a decent website would give him more business than he could handle. So we crossed him off. But what about the rest of them? They mostly reported that they would if they could, but the cost is prohibitive.

Cost is a factor, of course. But it’s “Penny wise, Pound foolish” to look at your greatest marketing tool as an expense instead of an investment. If they answered “yes” to the more business question, the next question is this: how many jobs would it take to cover the cost of the website work you need? Have them make some quick mental calculations and go on to question three… the big one.

I advised my colleague-turned-salesman to then open his laptop to the substandard site in question, alongside a more worthy site from a competitor. Then ask “If you were your potential customer, which of these companies would you choose to provide a good professional service experience?” Every click for the other guy is a lost sale for you, and just a few of those lost sales would have paid for the website work that you currently can’t afford to invest in. The sales after those can pay for your next team member, your vacation, your kid’s braces, or your new fishing boat. Sure, there are a few entrepreneurs out there who don’t need or want more work, but they are a tiny minority. It’s usually just a case of the guy with the bad website not understanding how it’s hurting when it could and should be helping.

Many thanks to you for the chat, my friend. I love you for trying to help your fellow man succeed. And when you do finally get them to take a look into that big old blind spot—because I know you will—I’ll be here waiting.