I’m sitting on a couch in my room, dim and desperate, searching for a business idea on Google, hoping that any minute the search engine will bring a dozen results about profitable business ideas I can start on the go.
But I’m worried, really, really worried, because I’m doomed. I don’t know where my next meal will come from, and that’s truly upsetting.
But now my frustration is waning. My fear is turning into excitement, and my hopeless thoughts are disappearing. My Google search has returned positive results, and the ideas I’m reading give me hope, encouraging me to kick-start my freelancing career.
A few days later, my uncle comes home, greets my mom, and gives me some cash. I buy a laptop with the money, tidy my room, build a desk out of scraps of wood in my backyard, and launch my freelance writing business on Upwork.
In those few days, I became another entrepreneur, selling my writing service on the Internet, waiting for money to start flooding my bank account.
But you know what?
For six to eight months, the World Wide Web keeps spinning. Search engines keep crawling. Clients hire freelancers, buy content, power their businesses…and no one even knows I exist. The business world keeps running, but no client buys from me.
Goodbye sad world, no one gives a damn about me after all.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Just recalling this gives me the jitters.
It’s not just about being unnoticed, although that’s discouraging. It’s about being ignored. I believe all of us, deep down, have an inherent need to be discovered, to engage with our customers, to trade our talents for some monetary value, and to change our world for the better.
If we’re being honest, I think maybe that’s one of the reasons many of us start a business. There’s something hugely comforting about knowing your services are out there in the marketplace for the whole world to purchase.
You could keep your talent to yourself, but when you package it into a saleable service, it can change lives, helping, serving, and benefiting millions of people. Or at least that’s the idea.
But most startups fail.
What normally happens, of course, is that you pour your best into your product, and no one seems to care. No clicks, no clients, no nothing.
Come on over, pals, and see my amazing service. We are watching my skills die in real time. That’s terrible.
Moreover, when you check your corporate account, and you see $0.00, you feel like your efforts have been flushed down the toilet. Once again, you’re a failure, operating in the online world, one more failed story with a stupid little website. God save your soul.
The good news?
You can hack your success.
You just have to realize that your service by itself is not a machine that powers unlimited sales. Here’s what you must do if you want that:
- You have to be memorable.
- You have to create something of great value and tell your prospective clients how it will benefit them.
- Your sales pitch must be burned into your client’s psyche.
Charm the heart-broken spouse.
You need to be a charmer. If you doubt me, just walk into any mall and watch the people for a while.
- First, you have the young digital nomad, with an iPad in one hand and an iPhone in the other, shouldering a laptop and other cool gadgets in a backpack. He’s walking slowly, trying to grab a drink while waiting for his delayed flight.
- Next, you have the 35-year-old executive who walks into a dress shop and touches a shirt to feel the quality of the material. She is immediately disappointed—the price tag is too much for the low quality of the shirt.
- And lastly, you have the granddad with a grimace on his face after chewing a dry, tasteless carrot from the grocery store.
The one feature they share is…
They’re all dissatisfied.
There’s a strong cause-effect relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, as the following diagram shows:
(Source: B2B International)
Just look at their faces.
They’re disappointed. Somewhere along the way, their heart, thoughts, and psyche roamed into despair.
Their motivation is swinging into a catastrophic mood, keeping them gloomy until something better wakes them. If that’s not horrific enough, here’s one more serious fact to note:
These people are your clients!
If you aren’t getting any traffic or sales or referrals, it’s not because your business sucks, necessarily. It’s because your clients are heart-broken. They can’t even fathom your services, much less open their wallets to buy.
If you want to bring traffic to your online shop, you have to tell them why they should visit your shop. You have to help them recover from their bad experiences with other sellers. You have to connect, engage, and respect them so deeply and sincerely that they will feel loved again.
Let’s talk about how…
Make your customer love you.
Love is like a little flower.
It needs constant water and sunlight (care). You need to remove the weeds from its pot (concern). It sometimes needs fertilizer and insecticide to keep it alive (constant attention).
You have to understand them. You have to love them. You have to take good care of them, exceeding their expectations. Surprise them like a husband surprises his wife with flowers, chocolates, or jewelry.
Because you want them to love you back and cherish you like you cherish them. Buried deep down, they have bad memories, hidden trepidations, and regrets. Your job is to be a masterful listener and an excellent servant who will replace their memories of bad experiences with incredible ones.
- Give the digital nomad a comfortable flight (on time) worth 10x the value of what he’ll pay, so he can sit down and produce his best work with ease.
- Give the 35-year-old executive the quality material that justifies the hefty price tag you put on it.
- Give the granddad fresh veggies, so he won’t have any complaints about rotten tomatoes or dry carrots.
Before now, their emotions were uneven and bumpy. After, they’re happy and smiling.
Before now, their intelligence was mocked and ridiculed. After, they’re loved and respected.
Before now, they were distressed and distrustful. After, they’re agreeing and contented.
It’s like watching a divorced couple reuniting and building a happy marriage again. They were always in love. They were just separated by anger, and they needed someone to control their temper.
That someone is you.
Don’t just make promises. Produce results.
If you’re a consultant, millions of other consultants are out there on the Internet, disappointing clients by delivering low quality results.
If you’re a web designer, millions of other designers are out there on the Internet, exploiting clients by delivering ugly pages at higher rates.
If you’re a freelance writer, millions of other writers are out there on the Internet, cheating clients by charging top dollar but delivering substandard content.
It’s no wonder 82 percent of customers leave a company because of a terrible experience.
Your customers are tired of empty promises. They need results. And what is the best way to deliver?
- Understand your customers’ pain points.
- See how your service can help them.
- Deliver more than they expect.
If you don’t understand your customers’ pain points and frustrations, or their goals and desires, it will be impossible to give them the results they need. As a seller, you need to hack their mind and get right to the root of their needs.
On the customer side, you need to listen to their complaints, examine their business, and see what they have missed, what they’re doing wrong. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and energy, which is what too many businesses do.
On your own side, you have to match your skills with their needs, kind of like matching couples. In other words, your service must target their exact needs.
Because, baby, that’s the only way to keep them happy!
Keep them happy.
Look at any successful company, and you’ll notice that it’s always innovating its products.
It’s not just about a successful service delivery. It’s how the newer products resonate with customers’ desires. Coca-Cola captures this pretty well.
In its Share-a-Coke campaign, the company beautifully prints individual names, compelling people to become more personally connected with the brand.
Where does the new innovation come from?
If you study Amazon, you can’t help but feel euphoric about how they constantly produce newer products. In the 1990s, there was only the general idea of selling books online. Today, Amazon becomes “The Everything Store,” adding even more categories—Electronics, Amazon Videos, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fresh, etc.
If you study Disney, you can’t help but feel elated about how they entertain us with their parks and resorts, recreation and sports, movies and spas—just to make our world a fun place.
If you study KissMetrics, you can’t help but smile at Neil Patel’s and Hiten Shah’s remarkable analytics products, delivered from the toolkit of their experience and expertise, aimed at providing serious startups with valuable data to help them succeed.
The analytics gurus constantly provide new products with poise and professionalism, which makes their users happy.
It’s not a drip of passion. It’s a thunderous downpour, a tidal wave of delightful experience that keeps a customer pleased. No doubt, that’s why the products and services of these successful companies are popular.
If you deliver quality service and newer products with a passionate mind, it connects with your clients on a beautiful scale, and that makes them smile.
So how do you make your customers happy?
- You study your clients’ needs.
- You produce top-notch work.
- You produce more top-notch work (in another form, with additional features, in your unique style).
Instead of accepting an offer and rushing through to get it done, know how best to tweak your service and give your clients the best results for their money. Invest the hours to perfect your work. Then let your invention rest.
Let it sit for an hour or a day, so you’ll see your errors and mistakes when you get back to it. When you send it to your customers, after you have polished it, they’ll behold quality work in real time.
They’ll love it. It’ll make them happy. And they’ll remember you again and again and again.
How to be memorable.
It’s not about how sophisticated you are.
It’s not about your expensive website design.
It’s not even about your experience and expertise.
It’s about giving your clients exceptional value consistently.
But the most important part?
You want them to keep you in mind.
You’ve felt it with other products, right? You try a drink or donut or gadget for the first time, and do you long for more? Do you feel empty without it?
Well, great service does that, too. The profitable part is that it can grow businesses on a mass scale. You can provide a high-quality service to a client, and that can serve as the engine that powers their success.
That’s a win-win for both of you!
It means you’re not just here to sell. You’re not just here to make money. You’re not here to be just another mediocre contractor.
Those services you provide can make someone’s dream a reality.
After helping one of my students with my first writing course, she e-mailed to tell me how I helped improve her writing skills and taught her how to make money with her craft.
Here’s why the course was successful:
- It identified with her needs.
- It reached her at the right time.
- It helped to meet her writing goals.
As an added bonus, it also helped her pocket some money while learning how to master the craft. I feel better about this e-mail than about any money I’ve made throughout my freelance writing career.
The bottom line?
Know why you exist.
Before you start offering your services, get to know why you exist.
Write a mission statement about your newfound business idea. Because, when you have a clear mission, your journey to delivering your best and to planting a seed of true love in your client’s heart is half achieved.
I don’t know about you, but before I begin a client’s work, I often glance at my mission statement that hangs on the wall, which says, “I exist to grow small businesses with prospect-optimized content.” It charges me to work based on my mission, and it helps me produce valuable work for my client.
So when you sit down to design, write, consult, or create anything… Don’t send your customer just another project. Don’t create ordinary art. Don’t tell an everyday story.
Blow them away.
Produce the best work you can with an open mind and enthusiasm, and your client won’t be able to stop talking about it. You want them to feel like you have just served them with a $1 million check.
Because that’s what you have to do: Make them fall in love with you. For every order, give them such a memorable service that they’ll feel like they’re extraordinary human beings.
Do that, and they won’t just call you again, requesting more. They’ll buy your newer products. They’ll leave positive feedback for you. They’ll tell their friends about your latest services.
And then you can surprise them again with another unique service until they label you as “the highest authority in the industry.”
From then on, you’ll be their go-to person. They’ll visit your website every day. You’ll be in their mind forever.
But the best part?
You’re putting a dent in the universe.
When you get the opportunity to work on a client’s project, don’t see it as a chance to make money. See it as another opportunity to pour life into a lifeless idea, to build a struggling startup into a million-dollar company.
The moment I learned the secret of delivering excellent service to a client, I stopped thinking of a client’s project as a way to make money.
I started thinking about how to help them realize their dreams—just like the lady who saw a sharp increase in her writing skills and income, the client who paid me $250 for an article he called “brilliant,” and the startup founder who e-mailed to thank me, saying, “You’ve really captured the kind of articles we need.”
Those are the things that matter.
Those are the things we should work for as business owners.
Those are the things we should do if we truly want to put a dent in this world.
And most importantly, those are the things that will help us sell our services like magic.
So get to work.
Your clients are waiting for you.