Two weeks ago, I was getting ready for moving...
It came across my mind that I should catch up with a few old classmates one last time before I fly out of the Bay Area.
Surprisingly, I caught them at the right timing.
Turned out, four of my friends were flying in from all over the world and having a small class reunion right here in Napa Valley. That's only 45 minutes away from my place.
Here's the funny part...
They didn't realize that I'm actually the closest one to where they're meeting and didn't think about inviting me in the first place...
...along with half a dozen classmates who weren't far either.
Even though we are close friends, I wasn't initially on the list.
Just like why some of your potential prospects doesn't think of you right away when they need your service... or how you're past clients don't refer you to their friends all the time.
Because you're only a very small part of their life and no way are you top of mind to them - at least not on a daily basis.
Now, if it's already hard to stay top of mind for a close friend... imagine how much harder it is for strangers to remember to do business with you?
So here's a tip:
Treat every prospect like a friend you really want to cultivate a close relationship with. Follow up often, keep in touch, and offer your service on a regular base.
That's the true secret to being invited to all their events... and getting more repeating clients plus referrals.
More details on HOW to keep in touch here:
In 2014, my neighbor bought their home in Pinole, CA.
It was at the rise of the real estate market so they got the house for $625k. The price wasn't cheap but had great potential for the increasing market value.
But what made the deal extra sweet was what came with the house - a HUGE yard. And I'm not talking about a couple square feet of a garden but 2.2 acres of land.
(If you're wondering, that's 95,832 sq-ft in total.)
The yard is so big it literally takes 5-10 minutes just to fetch the mail. The land spread across a small creek, hundreds of wild trees, a fox, few skunks, a family of deer, and all the way up a small hill...
It was a steal! (At least that's what they thought...)
The only problem is they never took into consideration the real cost of all the free land.
The cost of time - because it takes you 10 minutes to check your mailbox and 15 minutes just to bring the trash bins out...
The cost of labor - because to keep all the plants alive they need to haul a trailer, with six 2-gallon milk bottles of water, up and down the driveway multiple times just for irrigation. And this is only enough the keep the plants at the entrance alive while the rest die...
The cost of money - because they have to hire a team of four to cut down and haul away the dry grass on a monthly base just to prevent fire hazard... which is a real risk in the drought season of sunny California.
The truth is there are hidden costs in each and every decision you make. If it's not cash, it's time, effort, or opportunity cost.
So the next time you come across a freelancer who's willing to provide free (or dirt cheap) service, be wary.
Because nothing is free and it comes with a cost of its own.
It might be the quality of service...
Or the unexpected delay in deadlines...
Or even the damage of reputation due to poor quality.
Perhaps everything above PLUS some more.
Maybe you can save a couple hundred dollars up front but it's likely it'll cost you tens of thousands in the long-run... AND you still need to invest again to fix the problem.
So next time you're gunning for a discount, or a free favor, don't say you're not warned.
In the meantime, you can check out this:
Ever watched the movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button?
If not, it's three hours worth spending. Not only because it's a fresh breeze of air comparing to all the hero-action movies these days but also because the marketing lesson you can learn.
Just in case you haven't watched it, spoiler alert:
The plot is weaved between two storylines:
1) Benjamin who was born looking old and grew younger with time. 2) Daisy who was born young and grew older like us.
The two of them cross paths several times during the course of their lifetime. During which they learned more about each other and fell in love.
It's a fascinating story.
What's more fascinating is how similar it is to the relationship you have with your clients.
You and your prospects are on the same customer journey: desire >> problem >> solution. The only difference is that while you are approaching them from the solution end, your prospects are coming from the desire.
Throughout the journey, you will cross path with your prospects several times, and often only one would be ready to take action.
...But there will also be a few small windows where it's the perfect match to engage with a new partnership.
As a business owner (& marketer), it's your responsibility to understand where your prospects are on their journey and be ready to meet them at the perfect timing.
And here enters the Presell Marketing System.
The system is designed to plant triggers along the journey to identify where your prospects are right now and discover whether or not it's the right time for you to reach out.
(Or for them to reach out to you...)
Be careful because there is only a handful of opportunities to attract your prospects at the right timing with the right offer, just as this one:
From time to time, you'll face enemies that are unbeatable...
It could be industry Goliath who has an unlimited resource, or physical limitation to what your product can do, or personal weakness in what you can't do yourself, or rules set by a platform you have no control over...
It's tough (& despairing) when you know you're challenging an enemy that seems impossible to overcome.
So what's next?
Solution: Time to change your point of view.
Last week I was playing catch up for the TV show Elementary. During one episode in Season 5, Sherlock and Watson were threatened at gunpoint to solve an assault case that happened five years ago.
The assault victim died to leave behind a desperate father.
So the victim's father took control of 21 hostages, including Watson, to force Sherlock to work on this cold case (and solving it) before the prosecution deadline 5 years later today.
When Sherlock finally identified the villain, it's 5 minutes past midnight which means the villain walks free.
Later that night, Sherlock re-exam the case and said he's simply admiring the force of time. The one enemy even he could not beat...
Until the next day.
Sherlock discovered that the villain had traveled out of the country to Canada for a hockey game for a period of 27 hours! And according to US law, that 27 hours need to be extended for the 5 years of prosecution deadline.
Justice was served.
Here's a powerful lesson: When in face of a powerful enemy, as unbeatable as time itself, there could still be ways around the challenge to achieve the result you want.
Just like how almost A-L-L challenges in your business could be solved by a marketing approach that might not seem obvious in the first sight.
Anyhoo, enough said and I'll let you watch for yourself: