by Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach
As a marketing coach, I've probably heard every excuse in the book why people can't market their businesses. You wouldn't believe some of the whoppers people tell when they're trying to justify their failure to attract clients.
Now don't get me wrong; it's not that failing to attract clients makes one a bad person. Not at all. It's just that when I hear the following excuses I feel compelled to call 'em as I see 'em: Baloney!
If you have the mistaken notion that any of these lame excuses are the reason that your business isn't successful, get a clue. These are just EXCUSES for people who fail, not reasons not to succeed (a subtle yet important distinction, my friend).
1. "I'm too honest to market." OK, this little gem is at the top of my list because it is both a lie AND an insult! I am a marketer by trade, and I am honest, so I know for a fact that marketing is not a dishonest process or practice, nor does it have to be dishonest to be effective. What's dishonest is when you overstate your results, or if you truly don't believe that your product or service is worth what you charge, or if you deliberately intend to defraud people. In that case, the problem is with you, not marketing, so stop insulting the rest of us.
2. "I'm too modest to market myself." Listen up, princess, every word out of your mouth doesn't have to be about YOU. Think about what your clients want, need and actually get, and that'll keep the conversation going for as long as you need it to go. Hey, if you're not comfortable saying great things about yourself, start saying great things about what your clients get out of working with you. Or better yet, let them say it for you in the form of testimonials. But don't think that you have to be the subject of every fascinating conversation you have with prospects.
3. "I'm too shy to market myself." As a highly sensitive person myself, you'd think I'd have more sympathy for this excuse, but I don't. If you want to be successful, know right now that it may not always be comfortable, and you have to be willing to do what it takes to succeed, even if that means going outside your comfort zone. Shyness is a habit that can be overcome with practice, so join Toastmasters, or see a therapist if that's what it is going to take, but get over yourself. I promise you will be glad you did.
4. "I'm too creative to market myself." This excuse is really lame! Marketing is a very creative process, and since you have literally thousands of options when structuring your marketing plans, creativity is an asset, not a liability. Unless you're one of those I-am-a-self-indulgent-whiner-who-refuses-to-accept-any-responsibility-for-my-actions-and-masks-that-character-flaw-with-claims-of-misunderstood-or-excessive-creativity kinds of people, in which case I say, grow up, and while you're at it, think up a more creative excuse.
5. "I don't have enough time to market my business." OK, this excuse sounds good at first, but in reality it doesn't wash. Either you are already marketing but not acknowledging your marketing activities as such, or your business is so busy that you don't need to market at all, which makes this excuse unnecessary. So if you haven't got all the business you want but you don't have time to market, you need to reevaluate how you're spending your time, and make some tough decisions about when you are going to do what you need to do to get those clients.
6. "I don't have enough money to market my business." Again, you get points for trying, but this is still just an excuse, because good marketing isn't about money, it's about relationships. You can start very modestly with your marketing plans, and spend nothing but your time. And let me tell you, if you can't get some traction spending 40 hours a week trying to build your business relationships, maybe you should rethink your decision to be an entrepreneur.
7. "I have no personal network to market to." Oh please, you've got to have a better excuse than this! If you truly have no family, no friends, no colleagues, no acquaintances or no former co-workers, then start meeting some. I don't care if you've been on a desert island for the past 20 years, you can always meet people through networking meetings, trade associations, classes, social clubs, or at the gym! Just pick up the phone and call the people you want to know, get out there and mingle, and your personal network will grow quickly.
8. "My product or service is too hard to explain to people." Fine. Quit explaining what you do, and start talking about what your customers GET from working with you. Do you help your customers get thinner, smarter, married, fitter, their first home, or what? Seriously, nobody cares about what you do, really; people care about what they get. Get it?
9. "My product or service is so good that it should sell itself." Sure, that's probably true if your product is a talking monkey, or your clients are all telepaths, but other than that, it's going to take a little effort on your part, bucko, so start creating some momentum in the marketplace and you'll find that your product needs less and less of your efforts to sell, until one day it almost seems like it DOES sell itself!
10. "My niche is too narrow and I can't find my customers." Hogwash. What this usually means is that you haven't yet defined your customer, because you can't find what you haven't identified (and don't give me that you'll-know-them-when-you-see-them line). Start with a matrix of situation and need to identify that client. For example, let's say you're a financial planner, and you think your clients are "people who want to get their financial affairs in order." Think instead about who needs to get their financial affairs in order, and you'll probably come up with something like "married couples with children who have $X in assets and need to protect those assets with planning." And you can certainly find those people, can't you?
So we've blasted all these lousy excuses, but we haven't yet addressed the biggest excuse of all: fear. Most of the time I've found that the more excuses my clients offer for not moving forward with their businesses, the more fearful they are.
Hey, I understand, and I've been there myself. But what it comes down to is this: Are you more afraid of succeeding (or failing) than you are of going back to work for that idiot boss you always end up working for? If the answer is that you're more afraid of facing the personal responsibility of entrepreneurship than of any garbage your boss could throw at you, then good-bye entrepreneur, and hello wage-slave.
But if you think that the worst possible scenario is working for some moron again, and that you'll happily work like a dog if that's what it takes just so you don't have to slink back into that stinking office with your tail between your legs, good for you. It's time to forget about excuses, and start figuring out how to make this whole self-employed thing work for you.
The first thing to understand is that fear is OK. Yes, we've all been fearful (and yes, I include myself in that "we" statement). It can be scary picking up the phone. It can be scary going to a sales meeting.
But at the end of the day, isn't your product or service of value to someone? Aren't people glad (or going to be glad) that you've solved a problem for them? So stop worrying and fearing the marketing process, and remember this: Marketing is really nothing more than the process of developing relationships, and you, my friend, can do that in your sleep.
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Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is a successful Vancouver, WA-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and Certified Professional Coach. Through coaching, classes and workshops, Ronnie helps small businesses attract more clients. For free marketing resources including articles and valuable marketing tools, visit her web site at www.VeronikaNoize.com, or email her at Ronnie@VeronikaNoize.com.
Top 10 Lame Excuses Why Marketing Is Not For You © 2004-9 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.