When I meet people for the first time and they understand that I’m a marketing consultant, I’m frequently asked, “Where do most of your clients come from?” Many times I believe the question is asked innocently enough. But, quite often I feel like the person asking wants to know if I have a magic answer that might work for them.
Most small business owners are passionate about the services they provide – not the marketing it takes to consistently find more clients. Many service businesses will admit that they’re not really sure what works best or how to get going with marketing.
The result is usually a scatter gun approach. I refer to it as episodic marketing. It is characterized by a series of unfocused and hastily-planned, one-shot episodes (or campaigns). A common example is throwing together a tri-fold brochure that you can start mailing or handing out to everyone you meet, or sending out a direct mail piece to try and stir up some interest.
Typically, the motivation for these marketing episodes is a slowdown in business. And then when business picks up, you quickly scrap the current campaign (until the next slow down).
No System, No Consistency
What’s missing for most small service businesses is a system to break marketing down into a series of connected small steps. A marketing system is the key to generate a consistent supply of leads and convert them into new clients.
So Where Do Most of Your Clients Come From?
For me, the answer is that they are coming as a result of my ABCD Growth Marketing System. The same system I’m using to help teach my clients how to get better, more consistent results from their marketing is the system I’m using to build my own business.
Having a system allows me to dependably follow simple, but proven and effective processes to consistently generate leads and convert them into more business.
It is not a result of one or two great ideas or strategies. It’s breaking marketing and sales down into a series of connected strategies and tactics to gain attention from prospects and help them to become clients. The system helps move prospects forward that are ready to say “Yes”, and lets those who are not motivated or ready to make the investment move on.
Why Do You Need A System?
If you don’t have a marketing and sales system, you’ll never be able to grow your business to its full potential.
Most businesses address their primary business functions with systems. You have your billing system, accounting system, payroll system, and time management system. It’s likely you have systems to manage client or project work. One primary business function that seems to go without a system is Marketing.
There’s a great misconception that to be an effective marketer, you need to be creative. And most small business owners will tell me that they’re just not good at that. But I would contend that marketing should be more of a science (a system) than an art.
That’s the number one reason to have a system. Without a marketing and sales system, most service businesses end up re-actively marketing when business is slow and stop when they are busy. This mindset usually lends itself to episodic marketing.
With a system, you’ll be better prepared to generate inquiries and convert new clients all year round.
Marketing and Sales
Notice that I’ve said you need a Marketing and Sales system. Marketing and sales are NOT the same thing, but you need a system that addresses both seamlessly.
Let’s just look at the important difference between marketing and sales and why they should be successfully combined in a system like my ABCD Growth Marketing System.
One of the notions I hear over and over again is that Marketing is about creating name recognition or brand awareness. I would argue that these are simply welcome side-effects of marketing.
When you are a small business and all of your time, energy, and money count, then what you really need is for marketing to produce a consistent stream of good quality leads. Therefore, I define marketing as the use of strategies and tactics to generate a constant supply of high-quality leads.
Sales then is the process(es) you use to convert as many as possible of those high-quality leads into clients.
This is why the two should be seamlessly addressed in your system. Too many businesses jump forward to selling before a potential lead is even established as a qualified prospect.
Conversely, many leads go uncultivated when there’s no means to explore the prospect and move them towards becoming a potential buyer.
A System is The Key To Reaching Your Full Business Potential
Now just imagine if you had a system to drive these vital functions in your business. A system that breaks down the marketing and sales process into smaller, more manageable, interrelated steps.
Think about your own business. Where do most of your clients come from? Is it from your marketing and sales system? It should be.