Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels in your business? You feel like you are working, working, working, but nothing, nothing, nothing is happening? You’ve been a good doobie. You’ve developed a good service or product. You are tweeting and posting on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve even stepped out of your comfort zone and started doing some pubic speaking, but still nothing is happening. You just can’t seem to get any leverage. You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Why aren’t people responding? Relax, it’s not you, IT’S THEM.
Isn’t that what we always wish? It’s not that you’ve gained five pounds, it’s that the dryer shrank your favorite jeans. It’s not that you are overly sensitive, it’s that HE has a problem with strong feelings. It’s not that you are doing something wrong in your business, it’s that people just don’t understand or appreciate what you are doing. Well, sit back and breathe a sigh of relief because today I’m going to tell you what you’ve always wanted to hear. It’s not you, IT’S THEM. They actually don’t get what you are doing. They don’t appreciate you. They don’t understand the value of your service or product. They are not sophisticated, laid-back, educated, cultural or enlightened enough to get YOU. But whose problem is that? It’s YOURS! So what are you going to do about it?
The first thing you need to do is to be very clear about who you are and what you have to offer. Take a good, close look at your entire brand package. What does it look like? How is it visually represented? What is the personality of your brand? What emotions does it evoke? What promises does your brand make? Take a good, hard look. Is it consistent and cohesive? What is your total brand statement? Once you have established who you are, you need to figure out who THEY are.
Ask yourself “To whom is my brand most appealing?” I love singing classical music. To me there is nothing more sensuous, passionate and thrilling than hearing the power of the human voice soaring without amplification. However, there are many people who hear the same thing and think it sounds more like birds screeching than beautiful singing. They may learn to appreciate and respect the art form, but they will probably never become raving fans. These people think classical music is nice, but they are not going to shell out $80 for a ticket to La Boheme. They would much rather go see Lady GaGa. If I want to sell out a concert I need to identify those people who already love classical music and would happily spend their time and money to hear and experience it.
The same is true for your business. You may very well have a wonderful service, something of innate value and beauty, but you may be trying to market to the wrong crowd. You THINK people will want or should want what you offer, but the response is not there. Lots of people think eating healthier is a good idea, but not everyone feels passionately about buying organic food. If holistic health is your niche and you are having difficulty selling your services, you may need to get more specific about your target audience.
Sometimes the shift you need to make is not that big. Perhaps you are trying to sell a great business model, but it would work better for solopreneurs than the brick and mortar businesses you are currently targeting. It could be that your service is just fine, but you are aiming at the wrong age group. I knew a boutique owner who wanted to appeal to teenagers, but the customers she was actually attracting were the mothers of the teens. She would have done better to focus more on the moms than the daughters. Take a look and see if there is a slight adjustment you need to make to hit your ideal target.
Finally, sometimes you need to look at what you are actually offering. Perhaps your service or product is not as accessible or appealing as you would like to think. Not everyone is going to get excited about a grapefruit cleanse. It may work for you or for a very specific group of people, but it may not appeal to a broader audience. Perhaps there is something you can modify to have a greater reach. If I create a recital program consisting of pieces by composers like Arnold Schoenberg or Hugo Wolf, only a very select few will be drawn to it. I have a better chance of appealing to more people if I make the program more modern. That doesn’t mean I will go completely off brand and start singing like Courtney Love, but if I throw some Broadway or Cole Porter on the program, more people will be interested.
In order to capitalize on all your hard work, you need to be tuned into your audience. The litmus is not just whether or not they like you or your services. The real test is if they will be compelled enough by what you do and offer to buy tickets to your show. If you are not very clear on the desires, needs and preferences of your audience, you may be left singing alone. Worse yet, you may get booed off the stage!