We cannot just rely on networking events, coffee meetings and referrals…while this is good practice, this cannot scale. It will not move the needle for your business. I recently interviewed a leader of a midsize management consulting firm who stated that 85% of their new business opportunities come from referrals from existing clients or from their network of business contacts. In the same conversation, he was complaining that the business has not grown and budget goals have not been met.
The reality is that your greatest opportunity for growth probably will not come by way of referrals. Not on fancy networking events. (even if you are the speaker) Not on weekly coffee meetings. Most of the firms I’ve worked with in the last 20 years recognize that they own just a small portion of the available market. Many of these firms are only doing business with 3-5% of ALL the potential clients they know to buy the kinds of services they offer.
So what about the other 95-97%? What does it take to do business with the rest of the market? And the ones you do not know about? This is the question that I believe leaders should be asking themselves. If you know that the old school manual efforts (networking, referrals, etc.) can only give you a sliver of your potential market share, why keep doing what you are doing?
The answer: Position for the “other 97%” aka Autonomous Hidden Buyers…
Well, who are they and how do you find them?
I recently read an article from Randy Shattuck. He defines these segment of buyers as…” clients who need your services, have a budget and specific timeline in which they must take action and are actively looking for solutions but they are NOT looking for a company or service provider now. They are looking for great ideas that can help them achieve their goals.”
There are a few characteristics of the segment of buyers:
- An autonomous hidden buyer doesn’t know you or your company, therefore no trust has been established
- Considering the lack of familiarity, this buyer will not tell you about their problems. They are flying under the radar until they are sure you have good ideas that can address their problems — the very problems they’re not telling you about.
In my recent article “Ignore the 3% Rule – Choose Instead to Stand Out From the Noise”, I discussed the importance of positioning yourself to the ones you do not know yet. The number one reason is obvious, as there are far more of them out there than the obvious 3%.
The old school method is just leveraging our Rolodex (remember those??) and who we know. Why would you limit your growth opportunities to just your network?
The other 97% is not limited by your network size or your second- degree connections. Randy Shattuck and I agree that this segment of hidden buyers wants to be as invisible as possible for as long as possible. As we deploy marketing automation software that tracks the digital footprint of users, we see that the folks were consuming ideas and considering a service provider’s approach sometimes for months or years before they reached out for a conversation.
Why do they do this? Well, we all do it when the table is turned and we are the consumer and not the seller. Usually, it’s because the time wasn’t right for them. They didn’t want to be bugged until they had a specific need, budget, and timeline. We all do this…no one gives work email or phone number to anyone we are not yet ready to do business with.
Busy people want to engage on their terms and in a way that works for them. They do not want to be sold to…
Geez if they do not want to be sold to, how do you position yourself for the “other 97%” hidden buyer…
First, you must build an ideal client profile that really digs into problems being solved. Really think about this… It is not enough to say I sell to CIOs. Everyone says that. It is not enough to say my product is better. Everyone says that. How are you better? By what metric can you impact? How are you any different than your competitors? I recently wrote an article about how exactly to do this.
Second, you must build a thought leadership campaign that speaks to your ideal client’s tipping points. Have a pay it forward approach. Educate. Help.
When they go looking for great ideas to help them achieve their goals, you are the one!
Clearly, there are here are all kinds of ways to create and provide thought leadership content, just know the most important thing is that it is targeted toward your ideal client and is full of ideas to help them.
Hint: adding prospects to a monthly newsletter or other email campaign is NOT the answer.
Your biggest growth opportunity will come from positioning for the “other 97%” buyer and creating trust with them before they even know you. What’s more, when the time is right for them, they’ll quickly move through your sales funnel.
More about Tracey and her team…
The team originated from the technology sales space, so we understand the nuances of sales and how the difficulty of modern days selling versus old school methods. Further, we understand the ever-changing landscape of technology, the unique tech language, the people, and the strategies. In short, we speak tech and sales lingo and we get it.
As LinkedIn certified consultants, we empower clients via the LinkedAutomation™ Method with a systematic & authentic approach to 30%+ Growth in 90 days. Our method teaches you how you can gain relationships with people who know, like and trust you and who will buy from you for years to come. Leveraging our expertise in technology, the Thrive Agency team offers a provable, track-able method for gaining an ROI on your marketing spend for years to come.
See For Yourself and See What Others Say: https://thriveagencyinc.com/tech-vsl