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I’ve been working with Darth Vader for a little over a year.  Okay, Darth isn’t his real name, but he has succumbed to the dark side.

You see, when Darth came to me he had already been in the real-estate game for a few years.  He had a decent list of clients and was making a good living selling homes, but he wanted to grow and take his business to the next level.

His strategy for growth?  Do more marketing.  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it.

So, Darth started to ramp up his marketing.  He purchased billboard space, took out ads in local newspapers, delivered direct mail brochures, and even had his mug plastered across bus stop benches.

In addition to advertising, he had heard that social media was the golden ticket to getting more clients, so he hired someone to manage his social media strategy.  Before long he was tweeting up a storm and was using some great tools to get more Facebook likes.

Darth was doing a lot of marketing.  We’re talking Death Star sized marketing.

The problem?  He wasn’t getting results.  Sure, he landed a couple of new clients, but for the amount of time and money he had invested in marketing, the results felt like a drop in the bucket.

Darth had succumbed to the dark side. 

He had bought into the belief that more is better.

More adds, more tweets, more likes, and more marketing in general is the equivalent to a telemarketer playing the numbers game.  You’re going to be hung up on the vast majority of the time, but if you call enough people you’ll eventually make a sale.

The problem with that approach is that you have to invest a lot of time and money, you piss off a lot of people along the way, and if you do make a sale, it’s often a single transaction with little to no return business.

What’s the alternative?  Building relationships of trust.

Customers and clients will only purchase your products and services in direct relationship to the amount of trust they have in you. Think about that for a second.  It’s a key factor in a buyers decision making process, and one you can’t afford to overlook.

If you’re selling a $1 widget, you probably don’t have to earn much trust to make a sale.  However, if you’re a realtor helping someone to buy or sell their family home, trust is a key factor in their decision to work with you.  And this trust factor applies to all businesses, especially service professionals.

How do you build trust?  By delivering value.

If you’ve created a strong foundation for your business, you should know the urgent needs and compelling desires of your target market.  Ask yourself, what it is that they most need or want?  What problem do they most need solved?   Then, help them solve that problem.  And in return, you’ll build trust with them.

There are a number of ways you can deliver value and build trust.  You can write informative blog posts, deliver free webinars, run live workshops, offer free resources, conduct no-cost assessments, do free consultations, or anything else that is going to help your target market move closer to solving their problems.  Get creative and ask yourself what your target market would get the most value from.

If you deliver value to your target market, you will build trust with them.  Then, when trust has been built and they have a need for your services, they’ll put up their hand and ask to have a sales conversation with you.

Simple, right?  Not so fast.

Many people have gone to the dark side like Darth, where they simply do more and more marketing in an effort to sell their products and services.  However, I also see the opposite – business owners who swing to the other end of the spectrum.  They constantly deliver value, but they never ask for a sale.

The 80/20 Formula is key.

If you deliver value to your target market 80% of the time, the remaining 20% of the time you’ll have earned enough trust with them to talk about your business and the products and services you have to offer them.

Remember, you’re in business.  Asking for a sale or telling your target market about your offerings is expected.  And if you use the 80/20 Formula, it will also be welcomed.

What’s Darth up to these days?

He’s back from the dark side.

Working with me, Darth has applied the 80/20 Formula to his business and his marketing plan.  For example, he provides free resources to home buyers and sellers, he sends home owners checklists to remind them of seasonal home maintenance, and he writes a monthly blog giving homeowners tips and strategies for saving money on their home.

Using these and other strategies, 80% of the time Darth delivers free value and builds trust, then the remaining 20% of the time his marketing reminds his target market of the products and services he has to serve them.

The result?

Darth has increased his number of clients by over 30% in the past 6 months alone, and has reduced his marketing budget by more than half.

Most importantly, Darth’s clients want to stay in touch with him.  They’re no longer buying or selling a home and then forgetting him.  Because he continues to deliver value, he remains relevant and top of mind to them, which will ultimately result in more return business and referrals over the long term.

Delivering value, building trust, and using the 80/20 Formula is one of the most effective strategies you can use to get more clients.

Have you bought into the dark side and taken on a more is better mentality?  Or, are you building relationships of trust?  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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