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Why no response?

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One of the best speakers and presenters in the country recently did a big customer collection drive. After thousands of direct mail leaflets and hundreds of phone calls, he didn’t sell a seat.

What he wanted to do was to show people how to present themselves, which of course is such a big selling point in business nowadays. High-flying executives know this and anyone with such aspirations needs to get an objective person who will tell them where they ‘stink’.

In fact, some business leaders pay upwards of $7000 to polish up their life act. Similarly, small business owners need to be aware that potential customers make assessments on the most insincere reasons.

You do not need a grubby window, a poorly dressed sales assistant or an overweight owner. These real life turn-offs could be bad for business. (Clearly, I’m not saying these short-sighted, unfairly discriminating customers are right in doing this, but life really sucks at times.)

Siimon Reynolds, the guru adman who gave us the Grim Reaper commercials of the ’80 and two ‘I’s’ in Simon, once made a telling point when I asked him to define advertising. He insists that everything we do in business and life is effectively a form of advertising. From the way we answer the phone, present our business card, wear our clothes, listen to people and deck out our stores all act as advertising.

Trying to explain why my mate’s well-targeted ad program directed at the right people would not bring a good response really surprised me. After all, so many of us really need a lot of work with our presentation.

Now I don’t want to give the notion that I have lost my marbles, because I spend many of my waking hours answering business and money questions from friends, family, radio listeners and paying customers, but I think the answer is that many of us are working too hard.

It has always annoyed me that so many small businesses go broke, but few ever read business advice literature and do courses to ensure success.

I think my mate didn’t understand his market well enough and then target his advertising and marketing to his market effectively. His message just wasn’t been heard. Or he may have set his price too high and therefore there were no takers.

Too many think it is just hard work, when in reality it is smart work. Hard work implies lots of time working in the business and not enough time working on the business.

I recently knocked up a few articles for a magazine we publish in my company called Grow Your Business and one of the articles deals with the 11 Commandments of Business. I don’t have space here to cover each one, but the bottom line from all of them is that you have to work smarter.

Now I bet some of you are thinking, ‘Here he goes again plugging his own product’, but let me point something out. If we could get the million or so small businesses out there to read small business education information all the time, the Switzer’s would not only be wealthier, but the nation would be richer for having less bankrupts.

It’s tough work, but someone has to do it.

Published on: Saturday, June 13, 2009

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