by Charlie Cook

"Everywhere I look I've got competitors, from the large companies to other independent financial advisors like myself. What can I do to beat the competition and get more clients?" Martha, Financial Services, San Diego CA

In 500 B.C. Sun Tzu had the answer; "Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories."

In war or business the key to success is to know your competition and understand the obstacles you need to overcome. Do you know who your biggest competitor is? Do you know who or what is stealing your prospects' attention and keeping them from buying your products or services?

You may be surprised to learn that your biggest competitor isn't the other firm in your town or is it the large corporation that sells similar products and services. If you guessed these, you'd be right that they are competitors but they're not your biggest one.

Who then is your biggest competitor? Before I give you the answer, let me tell you a story.

During his first three years of high school, my son was not the student he could have been. All my explanations and entreaties about needing good grades to get into college fell on deaf ears. My spouse and I tried discussions, lectures and everything else we thought might work, but we just didn't have his attention. Sound familiar?

The same is true of your prospects. Your biggest competitor isn't one of the other companies that provide the same products or services.

Your biggest competitor and obstacle to growing you business is your prospects' indifference.

If your prospects aren't responding to your small business marketing, you're not capturing their –

– Attention
– Interest
– Time
– Trust
– Motivation to act
– Commitment

There are hundreds of thousands of people who could benefit from what you sell. Why aren't they flocking to your door? Why aren't you doubling your sales every year? Do you have the same problem with your prospects' that my spouse and I had with our son?

Halfway through his junior year, we took my son to see several colleges that were within his reach if he just applied himself. He liked what he saw and got excited about going to college (or was it just the idea of getting away from home?)

We got his attention by showing him the opportunities he could have if he improved his grades. We motivated him by giving him the information he needed to make the decision to work harder in school. The result? His grades went from mediocre to outstanding.

You can overcome your prospects' indifference too by giving them the information they want in your marketing. When you do their interest and motivation will soar.

Use these six ways to overcome your prospects' indifference.

1. Don't just shout your name or your company's name; tell your prospects how you can help them.

2. Before your prospects get distracted by another web site, another ad, or another task, grab their interest by making them curious about how much better off they'll be with your product or service. In language your prospect would use, map out their concerns and tempt them with the solution you provide.

3. Your prospects want a solution. Use your small business marketing to demonstrate you can solve their problem. Giving away tips, ideas or a test drive is one way to earn their loyalty and their business.

4. You want your prospects to trust you, so make sure they see and read great comments from your satisfied clients. Place testimonials throughout your marketing so your prospects can't miss them.

5. Give your prospects a compelling reason to read or hear your marketing message, to contact you, and to buy from you today. If it's possible to put off a decision, most people will. Include something in your marketing that will motivate your prospects to act right away, whether it's an offer too good to refuse, or a time limit on an offer or both.

6. You wouldn't expect a stranger to entrust you with managing their family fortune the first time they've read your name. Use your marketing to prompt them to email you, to call you, to get to know you and to trust you. Then help them to make a commitment even if it is for a first meeting or an entry-level product or service.

Your biggest marketing battle is to overcome your prospects' indifference. Accomplish this, and you'll attract all the clients you want. Do this, and you'll be so far out in front you won't need to worry about the competition.

The author, Charlie Cook, helps small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients, whether you are marketing in print, in person or online. I personally use Charlie's book, Insider Secrets to 15 Second Marketing and highly recommend that you do the same.

The article above was reprinted with permission from Charlie Cook. The link immediately above is an affiliate link, which means that if you buy the product, I get a commission. I have purchased the product and use its methods myself. I am a firm believer in the product.


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