After having a strategy session with a prospective client, he asked me to send him a proposal.
I informed him that I do not do proposals.
If he needed further clarification of the benefit of our services to him, he was free to ask me.
For the guy, the idea of a service provider not giving a proposal appeared alien him.
I explained to him that I had spent 45 minutes of my time, diagnosing the challenges his business was experiencing and outlining the solution that he himself agreed to.
If after spending 45 minutes with me on the phone he is unable to make a decision, why should I believe spending another 45 minutes creating proposal for him will make a difference to the outcome?
I am aware of the fact that my operational methods may appear counter intuitive to the usual ‘Modus operandi’ in the consulting industry.
Where the prospect speaks to the consultant and ask him/her to send a proposal and the consultant takes hours or days preparing proposal the prospect will never read.
The reality is this, in most instances, the request for a proposal is the prospective clients’ way of saying they do not believe you can solve their problem or they cannot afford your service.
If someone is sick and they went to a doctor, when they receive the diagnosis from the doctor, they do not ask the doctor to send them a proposal.
They either accept the doctor’s report of findings or they reject it based upon the cost.
As a small business owner, it is very important you grasp this concept because if you don’t, you will spend the majority of your time preparing proposals.
The Long Tail Century
We now live in an era described by author Chris Anderson as ‘The Long Tail’.
An era in which everything and everyone is niched.
Whatever, product or service you sell is wanted by a specific group of people.
It might not be a very large group, but there is a sector of society that will benefit from your product or service.
Therefore, your goal with your marketing needs to be to find that niche group of people that your product or service appeals to.
Do not waste your marketing resources trying to sell to everyone because you are of the conviction that everyone will benefit from your product or service.
The fact that everyone will benefit from your product or service does not mean that everyone can afford your product or service or that they want to buy from you.
Those who want to buy from you will instantly be drawn to your product or service when they encounter it.
This is what the long tail of customer attraction is about, marketing only to those who have the willingness and ability to pay for your product or services.
How Do You Reach Your Niche Market?
With the internet and social media, sometimes it can appear overwhelming to reach a specific group of people.
The most effective marketing strategy for reaching a tiny niche market is to attract them to you.
You need to make yourself the ‘go to person’ in your niche.
This strategy could apply to any business.
You could own a small shop in your town and still become the ‘go to person’ for whatever it is that you sell.
When a prospective customer contacts you, then as the business owner, you are in the position to dictate the price and a request for a proposal goes out of the window.
They will be hoping that you will accept them as customers or clients.
It’s not difficult and it is not impossible to do.
I can afford to tell my prospective clients that I do not give proposal because I don’t go looking for them.
They come looking for me.
I ensure I keep a full pipeline to avoid being placed in a desperate situation forcing me to go out seeking clients therefore being forced to do things like proposal I do not want to do.
Attracting customers in the long tail era requires that you understand two things: