Action, Not Just (Paying For) Words

One of the biggest hurdles a small business owner faces is figuring out how to get clients through the door. Whether your company has an actual front door in a building, or you operate a service-based business without a physical location for customers to visit, the goal is still the same: to get customers to call on you so that they can pay you for your expertise. If a small business can’t figure out how to get more customers, it won’t be around for long.

sign saying that our home inspection business is open

When it comes to customer acquisition, one of the most common mistakes small business owners make is thinking that they simply need to make people aware of their presence and the clients will come pouring in the door.

If I could just get my name out there, get more people to know about me, then everything will work out fine.

It’s easy to get more people to know about our business, especially in today’s digital world. Want to print more business cards and fliers? Simply go online and place an order. They’re at our door in just a few days. Want to get ranked on the first page of Google? Take a few minutes to set up an account and they’ll happily charge our credit card for top billing in the search engines. Or even easier, we can pay someone else to handle that for us. There are plenty of marketing services that promise to rank us on the first page, share our name with clients far and wide and pop us up in their feeds.

It’s easy. Give us your money and everyone will know your name!

The hard part isn’t getting everyone to know who we are; it’s getting them to decide to use us. It doesn’t do much good for them to know who we are if they aren’t calling to book our services. Name recognition is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t pay the bills. If they’re not signing up, not scheduling appointments and not hiring us to do the work, then we’re simply wasting money.

So, if the trick isn’t simply in getting people to know who we are, then what do we have to do to grow our business?

It seems like every big-name brand we see is doing it, just getting their name out there so that we’ll remember that they’re sitting there, waiting to fulfill our every need.

Coke.

Walmart.

McDonalds.

Toyota.

State Farm.

They’re spending obscene amounts of money to make sure we see their names everywhere we go. We drive our Toyota (insured by State Farm) to the McDonalds located inside our neighborhood Walmart to quickly grab a Coke before we start shopping.

It sure seems to me like this name recognition thing is working…

While that may seem to be true, if we stop to think about it, it’s not just their name that they’re pushing on us, 24/7. Yes, sometimes all we see is the name. If we’re watching a sporting event and the network cameras are zooming out to show a wide-angle shot of the stadium, the company’s name may be all that we see on our screen. But that’s not all our brain is registering. At some level of consciousness, we’re recalling all the marketing that company’s done over the years. We’re remembering exactly what it is that they do, sell or offer. We already know the benefits that they provide. We know (for better or for worse) the quality of their product. We understand exactly what it is that the company stands for and exactly when it is that we’re going to need, want or desire their product.

It is the value invested in a name over time that makes the brand, not just the name.

Bernard Kelvin Clive

They’ve already done the hard part. They’re already spent the capital to make sure we know why we need/want/desire what it is they’re selling. We know who they are and why we should take action whenever their name comes to mind.

The name part is easy. Anyone can do that. It just takes money to get our name in front of our client. It’s the call to action that’s the hard part. That takes time. It takes thought. It takes a level of commitment to our clients, our business and our success that’s difficult to muster.

What is it that we do?

Why is it that we do it?

Why should someone really even care that we do it?

What is it that we’re offering to them that they can’t get somewhere else?

Getting a customer to see your name is easy. Convincing a client to take action once they see you is the difficult part. It’s hard to do the work.

It takes time.

It takes commitment.

It takes dedication.

That’s why so few people do it.

It’s easier to just throw some money out there and let someone else broadcast our name.

It’s called hard work for a reason. Isn’t that what we should be doing?

tools for doing hard work on a home inspection

The wonderful thing is that money is not the sole currency when it comes to starting a business; drive, determination, passion and hard work are all free and more valuable than a pot of cash.

Richard Branson

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Thanks, Joe

pic of me, Joseph Cook Jr, home inspector

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