Monday-Morning-Memo-Logo1By Roy H. Williams

If I were to ask you what’s limiting your growth, you’d likely tell me, “Traffic. If we had more traffic, we’d make more sales. What we need is more traffic.”

But traffic is rarely the problem. It’s simply the byproduct of a problem you haven’t been able to see.

These are the Four Most Common invisible problems that limit your selling opportunities:

Problem 1: Your ads aren’t convincing.

SOLUTION: Write better ads.

Do your ads speak to what the customer actually cares about, or do they speak only to what the customer ought to care about? Let’s face it: you’re an expert in your business category. You can’t think like your customer thinks because frankly, you know too much.

Have you given your ad writer explicit permission to push you beyond your comfort zone? A good ad writer will always ask questions that you feel are irrelevant. “You don’t understand,” you’ll say, “That’s not what matters. THIS is what matters.” And thus you’ll steer your ad writer into writing irrelevant ads.

When it comes to ad writing, naiveté is a virtue. The best ad writers don’t know any more than the customer knows.

Problem 2: Your ads aren’t reaching your prospects with sufficient repetition.

SOLUTION: Focus your ad budget.

Most business owners sprinkle their ad budgets across a wide variety of opportunities because they “don’t want to leave anyone out.” The result of this strategy is that they reach too many people with too little repetition.

Bill Bernbach said it best: “Would you rather reach 100 percent of the people and convince them 10 percent of the way, or 10 percent of the people and convince them 100 percent of the way?”

The longer your product purchase cycle, the more repetition is required to drive traffic. How often does the public buy what you sell? An ad for groceries will generate traffic with less repetition than an ad for refrigerators because we buy groceries more often than we buy refrigerators. Do you sell jewelry, appliances, dentistry, or provide an in-home service? Focus relentlessly on a smaller group of people and make yours the name that pops into their head when they finally need what you sell.

Problem 3: You’re already selling everyone who likes to buy what you sell in the way you like to sell it.

SOLUTION: Expand your business model to appeal to a new category of customers, or begin selling your current customers an additional product or service.

It’s often the most successful businesses that complain the loudest about low traffic because they’re no longer growing like they used to grow. If you focused your business on a niche market, has the same focus that created your initial success now got you bumping your head against a glass ceiling? You know there are more customers in your product category; you just can’t seem to get them in your door.

You’re going to have to expand your definition of “your customer.” There’s not an infinite supply of the customer profile you’ve been targeting. It’s likely that you’re going to have to sell products – or customer profiles – you would have preferred not to sell.

4. Your reputation has slipped, or your product is no longer in demand.

SOLUTION: Reinvent yourself. Become relevant to the customer again.

Would better advertising have saved 8-track tapes, or was it simply a technology whose time had passed?

The marriage rate is declining in America. So why are jewelers surprised that engagement ring sales have declined by a similar percentage?

Customized online news aggregators gather only those stories that each of us likes to read. So is anyone surprised that newspaper readership is waning?

Now let’s talk about your business: Is your marketplace changing beneath your feet? Move with it.

Or risk falling down.

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