Having a viable business plan is a great first step and without one, it’s not much help when you want to get customers. By putting the ball in their court, you have no control over how your work will bring revenue. So by establishing a clear path for customers to take which funnels their desire for your service into an exchange that you govern, there is a guaranteed return in every instance. But how do we get people into our sales funnel? These individuals are humans with deeply personal stories. We can’t simply erect a fence and let them go through the gate. There absolutely is no reason why anyone would visit your service unless they know about it and have knowledge of what it will do for them. You have to sell your business by putting it in such a light that passers-by notice and show interest.
Standing out and fitting in are essential elements that have to be kept in great balance. The ways in which you fit in and stand out truly depend on your competitors or if you’re like me, like-minded service people. There is enough to go around for everyone if we think hard enough. The business has to be presented in a way that allows customers to make an immediate association. This is because we don’t have time to really think about everything we see. People use a thinking process called heuristic processing. This means that we make quick judgements about complex things based on a few simple pointers. When it comes to things such as products and services, there is no way that society can govern our prejudices and isms. We have to be presented in a way that allows people to immediately associate us with our trade or ethos. But to stand out is to be the reason why a customer chooses us and not the other place. By finding uniqueness within the professional conformity, we give customers a personal reason to prefer our custom.
What do we know about personal reasons? It’s the difference between a customer and a passer-by. Of course, we can immediately look to trends and fashions. A lot of the time people will choose a brand because it validates their sense of style. A successful business that highlights a person’s individual taste gives them a sense of righteousness in their choices, even if subconsciously. The way we present ourselves must appeal to a particular trend, even if it’s the formal one people go to work in. If we turn up in vintage mistakes then not many people will want to be associated with our offerings.
Unless you are offering an essential item at a competitive price, you might find it increasingly difficult to find customers. A novelty will wear down and a trend will pass. You need to continually address the marketing aspect of your trade as the marketplace changes and people learn more about your brand. The elements of natural persuasion are widely documented. In human society, natural persuasion is the psychology of desire and want put into practice. We want to make a living, feed our family, and pay the bills. We also don’t want to cheat people while also highlighting why they might want to choose us. We can draw on these aspects of natural persuasion and find where we can apply them to what we offer. You might also find them useful when spotting scams, as these principles are offered but ultimately are faked. If you make sure you use them in a genuine way, it’s a brilliant method of selling what you have.
Reciprocation is when someone wants to help you because you helped them. It’s the basic principle of the sale. They give you some money because you gave them something they wanted. The principle can be extended, though. A person who does good for the world is more likely to be seen as a worthwhile business to use. By highlighting the societal benefits of your existence, customers will feel good about putting their input in and taking home something from you. We reward people in kind in all kinds of ways, it’s not always financial. Often we pass on a good word or we behave respectfully when we otherwise might not have. Reciprocation stretches into every aspect of the social equation. It’s an unwritten rule that rarely is mentioned, we don’t like being given obligations and requirements. If we feel that a stranger is obliging us to do something for them, it’s not a great experience.
Authority means that we can be trusted. To have authority in our trade means that our experience and training go beyond the necessary for what we do. People think of you as an expert and an admirable member of your creed. They will ask you for advice about things your business specialises in, they will use your words and actions as examples, they will begin to use your brand name in a way that is synonymous with your expertise. When people trust you, they will feel comfortable doing business with you. They’ll eat your cakes. We have to demonstrate why we can be trusted in every aspect of what we do. If there is cause for doubt, people will see red flags that stop them from spending their money. If this means you have to back to school, then do it. You can study plenty of necessary subjects for free with FutureLearn.
Social Proof is the principle of authority manifested in a social situation. We look to what others are doing to gauge whether we should do it too. It is much more powerful when no one is doing something. No one likes being the first to try something new, it’s a natural feeling of anxiety that I call dark cave syndrome. We all experience this to varying degrees, and it takes those with particularly brave dispositions to be the first to try a new thing. If we see that a lot of people are doing something, we then accept the conscious argument of whether we should join them or not.
Likeability is an extension of social proof. People need to like you if they are going to spend their money with you. They have to like your product, your personality, your culture, and the experience of your brand. This means that we have to be highly diligent when designing and evolving our range and place of business. If one thing is wrong, like the Princess and The Pea, it will make customers feel uncomfortable. You have to be cosy and comfortable, warm and soft. This can be reversed in some instances. Sometimes people have strange tastes and can enjoy being made to feel strange or any number of typically unwanted feelings. If you can make people feel comfortable by offering something along these lines, that’s fine. Just be aware you have a polarised market and will have to handle the other side as well.
The final principle of natural persuasion is scarcity. In one sense, it means that if everyone is offering the same service, you are less likely to be chosen. In the other sense, it means that something’s value increases relatively when there is less of it around. Diamonds are kept highly-priced because only a certain number are released to the market each year. Loaves of bread are cheap because everyone sells them and they’re easy to make. This means that we first have to design our service in a way that makes it unique, meaning that people will have to use your business if they want the specific service you offer. Sometimes this can work well if your brand is fashionable or famous. Other times we have to make sure we offer an exceptional level of quality that is difficult to find elsewhere. Making things less available is another way, a painter who makes three paintings in a year can be more sought after than one who does one a week. The waiting, the time in production, the fact that there are not many, makes these things more desirable.
When the principles of natural persuasion are used in combination and with accuracy, customers can be given the right idea as to why you are offering them value. They want to feel safe that you are not cheating them. Customers are ultimately confident in your genuine desire to provide and do fair business. By demonstrating this in your marketing, it will give you the best chance of getting people in the door.