• you are making a living based on your own personal skills and talents.
• you are a multi level marketing distributor
• you are a mostly-commission sales person
• you own a business of very few employees
• you have limited capacity
• you have limited capital
If your business is very small and largely dependent on the skills and talents of one person, you are most likely an underdog.
Rejoice and be glad in it.
Over 90% of all business entities are small enough to be considered underdogs. We are many and we are the spirit of American commerce.
We are each one unique and we serve well our local communities.
We are underdogs mostly because we think and act too much like our fat cat / big business brothers.
Most of what we know about sales and marketing we learned from TV where we saw big business spending big bucks to reach big audiences. And here we are now running a very small business with limited capacity and a smaller market niche.
These big business strategies are not for us. Copy not, and question everything a big business does.
David defeated Goliath with a sling and not the big business standard of the day. We too must find smarter, more effective and more efficient ways to acquire our customers.
Small is beautiful. Be defiant, outwit the giant.
These are the main attributes of The Man of Steel per his theme song.
For what purpose are these skills best applied? What problem does Superman solve?
Fighting crime of course, and that’s what Superman does. And he specializes in this one thing!
Not that he can’t do other things.
He can do anything and everything, but he is also super-smart and realizes that fighting crime is the highest and best use of his super powers.
This is what he does better than anyone else.
He chooses not to do bookkeeping, accounting, catering or any other trade. He is a specialist with super powers and he knows the market niche that he serves best.
Do you? What are your super powers and what market niche do you serve best?
If niche marketing serves Superman, so let it serve me.
Most of us have learned about marketing, advertising and sales by watching TV where we witnessed big business, spending big bucks to reach big audiences.
Some of us went further and studied how to spend big bucks to reach big audiences so we could be hired by big business.
And now, we are running small and or micro businesses and do not have the big bucks to spend.
Welcome fellow underdog. Without the big bucks to spend, what can and will we do?
Stop focusing on quantity and start focusing on quality; quality connections, quality Linkedin connections and then meeting these connections for coffee.
As an underdog business owner, it is the people we meet who will hire us, endorse us and refer us. The people we meet, P2P, are the people who will grow our business.
What can we do? We can meet at least one new person every day, P2P — person to person. And build a list (also known as a network) of quality connections.
We chatted amicably for a couple of minutes and then he started to tell me about this super-duper widget that he was selling.
It was truly remarkable. It cured almost everything that affects everybody.
And the manufacturer donates proceeds to charity and has been in business since FDR and award winning and some celebrity and so on.
Then he started to talk about me and the problems that he was sure I had and how this stuff would . .. . I forget all the wonderful results because . . . .
This was the very first time we had ever met! Who is this person? I was so doubtful that I was not interested in all the brilliant verbiage.
My mother, like yours I’m sure, told you not to talk to strangers; and certainly not buy anything from them!
First meetings are priceless events. They should be for building a relationship and NOT for pitching a sale.
Even if the product is exactly what I want or need, chances are great that I KNOW someone else, who can sell me the same thing.
And Noname? He’s a stranger and I’m not that keen on change anyway.
What is a comfort zone?
I wonder if Bill Gates is in his comfort zone? Or Warren Buffett? Or Jimmy Buffet?
It seems to me that successful people are very much IN their comfort zone. They are using their skills and talents to the fullest. I suspect they are perfectly happy with what they are doing and the people they are serving.
Before we start leaving our comfort zone for zones unknown, perhaps we should first ask if we are maximizing our current comfort zone.
Are we currently using our own super-powers to the max and providing real value to the communities we live in?
What are your super-powers and for whom might you be able to provide great value?
It is a gigantic marketplace and there are many customers and clients for each of us; people who need what we can do.
Before you start looking for new comfort zones, you might want to explore your current one more thoroughly.
Your customers most likely all bought your product or hired you because you fixed an issue they were having.
(Yes, some businesses cause something new to be built or a goal to be achieved, but most sales are made because the buyer needs something to be made better, now.)
Thus the two business critical questions are What is the problem you solve? And  Who exactly has this problem?
The answers to these 2 questions are the fundamental parameters of your niche markets. Your very best top quality prospect is a person who has the problem you can solve.
Who are these people and how can you find them are the cornerstones to the concept of prospecting.
Before you launch your business or a new product, spend some time on these two questions. Because sales are much more easily made when speaking to people who have the problem you can solve.
If we are not totally convinced in the solution we offer, how can we convince others?
Whether we offer a guarantee or not, in our own minds, is our solution a guaranteed success for our customers?
Seriously, do we love to talk about the product?
Do we use the product?
Are we convinced of guaranteed customer success?
If you start a new job . . .
If you start a new business . . .
If you start to sell a new product . . .
If you start a new Network Marketing endeavor . . .
Are you convinced and confident that this offering is brilliant and your customers are guaranteed a successful experience?
Because . . . for you to find happiness and success, you must be confident and convinced that your customers are guaranteed to find happiness and success.
And if they are, and do, your work will be a delightful and rewarding experience.
No matter how brilliant the idea might be and how perfectly the stars are aligned, a business grows ONE customer at a time.
ONE sale is extraordinarily great and 10 is 10 times the first, and there are many more before small becomes big.
Small means that every single customer is critical and must be well served through the prospecting step, the sales step and the customer service step.
And if we do not serve and learn from our customers and prospects while we are small, we will never become big.
Small is where we learn how to be a business. Small is where we learn what customers really want, how they want it and how can we really deliver it. If we overlook these small sales, we will never become big.
The fallacy we often heard is that more lines in the water catch more fish and so if we say we do many things, it’s as if we have many lines in the water.
The analogy is incomplete. What’s missing is the bait at the end of those lines. What works is the right bait in front of the right customer at the right time.
The fish bait is akin to the service or product that a business offers.
Consider this scenario, you have a brain tumor and you are getting recommendations and researching doctors.
Among the many choices, here are two
Doctor AAA (anything, anybody, anytime)
10 years practicing medicine, my specialties are brain surgery, podiatry, acupuncture, radiology and nutrition.
Doctor B (Brain Surgery)
10 years practicing brain surgery. This is my specialty. It’s the only medicine I practice. I have performed over 500 brain surgeries and every patient is doing well.
There might be other reasons to consider when making this decision. But when it comes to an important matter, do you want a specialist or a generalist?
Most new and small businesses need to be special, super-specific and very good at what they do.
Jacks of all trades are everywhere. Top talent exists only at the top of the pyramid. Resist the temptation to do too much, instead, do one thing; one thing incredibly well. Call it your super-power.
And so now we arrive at the final Linkedin prospecting concept, 2 questions  Who exactly do you want to meet? and  How many meetings do you want to have with new prospects every week?
Who is your most likely customer? What do they look like?
If you know anything about your customers, chances are great that you can find them with the Linkedin “advanced search”. This feature allows even we who have the free membership to search the Linkedin database using 12 filters.
Using the filter is easy compared to answering the above two questions. Most business people in an effort to never miss a possible inquiry or to be huge tomorrow think that everybody is their prospect. And though they may be, this is the wrong answer, as covered in this previously posted blog.
When proactively prospecting with a strategy that can and will cause you to be meeting 2 out of every 3 people you identify, it is imperative that you know who are your best prospects.
In fact it is best to be able to identify these prospects by name and find them in Linkedin by using the search tool. Read about them, learn who they are before meeting them and as part of the prospecting selection process.
Sales are as much found as they are made. If we do a better job of identifying better prospects, we can and will make more sales, especially if we facilitate a great 1st meeting.
The highest and best use of Linkedin is as a proactive B2B Prospecting tool.