There is nothing scarier in the business world than needing to make payroll. You may be a growing company, your accounts receivable is high and the money just isn’t there (yet). You cannot be timid in your continuing marketing efforts though. As other businesses will see you weakness and flock like vultures and take everything away from you in an instant.
I needed my pipeline to convert all while still filling it at the same time (and collect accounts receivable, over 100k a month). I’ve discussed how to target, communicate and educate potential customers, but its time to close the deal and bring in the money. As you know, money is the deciding factor in many decisions. Don’t believe me? Do a quick poll on your Facebook page about a new product you are thinking about selling and ask who would be interested? It will make you feel so good at the amount of positive feedback and willingness to buy your new product. But, once you develop and try to sell again, you won’t have that same luck. Instead, add the pressure early on. Ask for a prepayment. You can incentive by only allowing a few people to buy or at a discount, but theres no reason to work on something that no one will eventually buy.
I wrote a book, which took me about 14 months and heard time after time, ‘Once its ready I’ll buy.’ So I went on creating line after line and pinpointing what story I really wanted to tell. The basic concept is on Communities and how they can be created. About halfway through writing, I decided to create a launch page for the book and connected it to Gumroad, an online payment platform. I received a few orders and thought, ‘Oh, this is great, people are pre-ordering.’ As I got closer to the completion of writing and editing, I hit the marketing trail harder and sales grew even more. I launched the book and now see a few sales a month.
I learned a lot about writing a book. The number one thing I learned is that books won’t make you rich 🙂 BUT, they can give you credibility in your industry. I was able to interview a dozen other community leaders across the US and learn about what they were doing to make their cities better.
When I now think about launching a new product or service, I create a landing page with an email opt in along, along with a strong Call To Action on purchasing now. This way I have two ways to track those interested. 1) Email opt in, which will turn into an educational series, similar to the ‘Growing Your Sales Pipeline Series’ and 2) instant financial payment, which gauges the real interest or how to specifically target. If I was to say create an e-book for ways to market your business with tools around five bucks, who should I be targeting?
So, how did I get to this point. How did I take a case of beer and turn it into a six-figure gig? I became the Authority. I became trusted. I asked a lot of questions. And, I listened.
Right after the first entrepreneur meetup I hosted, I was introduced to Mike Fleck, who had been looking for ways to get engaged into the business world in Norfolk. I had been to a few networking events hosted by the HR Tech Council and made friends with the organizers. I don’t think many people were interested in the ‘startup world’ locally, so when I pitched that and all that goes along with starting a business, a lot of introductions and business leads flew our way. The HRTC guys were at the first meetup.
Mike and I met for coffee one morning and told him about the meetups I was organizing. Mike thought it was cool as he had recently transitioned from an employee to a founder. I told him that I wanted to create a community of other entrepreneurs, so we could learn from each other. I asked him what his new company was, which is a cyber security startup, Cipher Point. I was unfamiliar with his industry and his company so I had a lot of questions to ask him about it.
Tip: Ask, Ask, Ask
After a good summary of what he was doing and what he was looking to do, the Golden Ticket happened. Mike asked me about what I was working on, or more importantly what put food on the table. Remember, up to this point, I have yet to tell anyone about what I am selling or what I make money on. I wait for them and I always do. Why, because everyone is constantly being sold something.
I’ve hosted events specifically targeting those who I believe will turn into customers, I reached out to them about educational opportunities or ways for them to win more business and never sold them once. Think about how much stronger my case is now. I have been introduced to someone, I am educating a group of people and I am easy to communicate with. Three strong cases that I am someone to be listened to.
I told Mike that we created custom software for early stage companies and larger corporations looking for a solution to fix their off the shelf needs. It clicked to Mike and he immediately thought of a friend who was starting a company and was looking for a custom web and mobile software solution.
Mike then introduced me to his friend and within six weeks a check was in the mail.
The case of beer that brought dozen of entrepreneurs together to learn from one another turned into an introduction, which then turned into a six-figure gig. I’m not exactly sure of the multiplier but I think its pretty good, $20 bucks for beer to $130k.
Other Favorite How To’s
- Advanced Guide to Facebook for Business: https://startwithhatch.com/facebook/
- How To Make $1,000 In 7 Days: https://startwithhatch.com/how-to-validate-an-idea-and-make-1000-in-1-week/
- How to Get Your Best Bang When Networking: https://startwithhatch.com/how-to-effectively-network/
- Sales Funnel 101: https://startwithhatch.com/how-to-qualify-your-leads/
- How We Turned A Cup Of Coffee into $2,247: https://startwithhatch.com/coffee-convert/