Lately, I have been doing some introspection about the current and future state of my business. No doubt it's changed over the years but that change has accelerated lately. If you look at patterns, you can kind of predict the future. The one thing that almost all of my clients have in common is that all of them took the time to make a decision to work with me. Most happen through networking, but what do my best clients have in common?

That question can be answered by looking at the Pareto Principle. 80% of my best clients come from referrals. And 80% of my income comes from 20% of all my clients. So 80% of the income comes from my best clients who were all referrals.

Each one of those people who referred me was not a past client, but people with whom I invested to build the Know, Like, & Trust. It took time, and often years, to get to the point where they felt comfortable enough to put their reputation on the line to give my name to those best clients.

Even with that understanding, we all tend to want to find new customers faster (especially when a business is facing declining sales).

Question 1) How Do I Rank Better On Google?

The Perceived Problem – My website is not showing up in search and converting the way it used to?

The Real Problem – You want more people to notice you so you can sell more.

The Solution – You can't control how or if Google will deem you, your business, and your website search worthy. You can always buy ads to increase your presence, but that is often a bad bet since the cost of ads rarely reaps more new sales than ad spend.

Chances are, your business has changed over the last few years. Does your website reflect those changes, or are you so generic in your messaging that it talks with past, current, and future clients? The average website is over 3 years old. Old messaging does not generally resonate with new clients. But how do you determine what your messages should be?

Back to Pareto… Think about having an intimate conversation with your current best customers. What's important to them? What motivates them to continue to want to work with you? What would they say are the best reasons to work with you? Write all those answers down.

Now you have the framework to talk with your best customers. If your website text resonates with them, it should resonate with more like them. Also, if you want Google to rank you better, new content helps. Updating your content is the first step. Writing a weekly blog also helps. Then, use those blogs to drive traffic back to your website through email and social media. That shows Google that your content draws people in. If you are drawing in your current clients, Google will direct more people like them to your website as well.

The Answer – Build Know, Like, & Trust! – Talk with your current client base, and remind them why they like doing business with you!

Question 2) How Do I Get More Sales Conversations?

The Perceived Problem – Once I get a person on the phone or a live meeting, I have a better chance of closing a sale. So how can I get more calls?

The Real Problem – You want to talk to more people who are open to sales conversations. Cold calls and unsolicited emails are killing prospecting.

The Solution – Your network is your net worth. If you reach out to people who already know, like, & trust you, they will be more likely to invest their time to have that conversation.

Back to Pareto… If you help 10 people find what they are looking for, chances are at least 2 of them will return the favor. That means that you will have to invest time in others to get them to invest in you.

You can call and ask people if they know anyone looking for your services, but more often than not, they will get busy and forget. If you pay it forward, it engrains a bit of reciprocity in some people (not all). Also, people will tend to want to one-up what you did for them, so the quality of the intro will increase that way.

The AnswerBuild Know, Like, & Trust! – Reach out to more people who probably would not do business with you, but have connections or a direct line to people who would!

Question 3) How Do I Find More Leads?

The Perceived Problem – If I can only find more people who buy what I sell, my business will increase. How do I find and get them to buy from me?

The Real Problem – You need to have a system that has the purpose of building trust, and the perseverance and patience to invest in it to reap long-term rewards.

The Solution – In my last post I talked about the Three Phases of Marketing and the Buyer's Journey. The three phases are Awareness, Education, and Pre-Sales. Each directly relates to Know, Like, & Trust. In B2b businesses, it's nearly impossible to go from know to close.

Back to Pareto… if 100 people become aware of you, chances are 20% will move into the like phase, and consume your educational content. 20% of those (4-5 people) will get to the Pre-Sales conversation phase and maybe one will turn into a customer.

Logic would tell you that getting 1000 people will increase your sales 10 times. But, go back to the last two questions. To attract 1000 people, you will have to dilute your messages to appeal to a broader audience. If you are focusing on your perfect customer, your messaging will appeal to a more targeted audience. It will work, but you have to be patient and persistent.

The AnswerBuild Know, Like, & Trust! – Draw people into your Buyers Journey. Keep in mind that the only thing that takes people from awareness to repeat business is time and consistency in delivering value through your messaging and media.

Final Thoughts

Another thing I have determined is that my best customers have Three B's… Bandwith – Time to take and work as a team, Belief – Trust that together we can achieve their goals, and Budget –  Both time and money to invest in what it takes to create real change and bigger profits. Next week I will explore these and show you how to find those clients, and avoid the ones who are too impatient to build the Know, Like, & Trust with their own clients.

“Our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to the amount of consideration we show toward others.”
–Earl Nightingale

I would love to hear your thoughts on how these questions resonate with you. Do you feel that more web traffic leads to more business? How many sales conversations have you had that actually led to closed business? Do you want more leads or more prospects? Do you have any experiences or bits of wisdom to share?

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the three most common marketing questions.

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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