Is there a market for me?

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That is a question that very few people ask, and it has two meanings. Both of them are important to you if you currently operate a business, or plan to.

There is truth in the saying that “You only ever sell yourself”. That is, building rapport with your client/customer is the first step to making an eventual sale. It follows that you have to be ‘saleable’. Your knowledge of your industry and product, your appearance, and your behaviors all contribute to the level of rapport you are able to build. Do you know what you are talking about, and can you explain that to your non-expert client? Are you dressed in an industry- and location-appropriate manner? Normally doctors don’t wear hi-vis clothing and work boots, whereas a building contractor probably should. (And would you trust a building contractor with a stethoscope around their neck the way you trust a doctor wearing one?)

Do you stand by your word? Does your market believe what you say? If not then you are giving them reasons to not buy from you.

Then of course there actually has to be a viable market that you can connect to and influence. That influence has to encourage them to buy from you instead of some other business, otherwise your business will slowly (or maybe not so slowly) just fade away.

What are your answers to these questions? Are you earning your market’s trust and influencing them to buy from you? And if not, why not?

There’s another question that is also important about now: Why should I care? The answer to that is relatively simple. You can build a long term, sustainable business and secure your future, or you can head for the ‘dark side’ and not always do what is best for your clients. The dark side leads to a ‘feast and famine’ cycle where you need to restart the business every so often, which eats into your profits, and eventually can cause the business to fail. The ethical approach, by comparison, maintains good relationships with the people making up your market, which maintains your profit level.

The ethical approach means that your income planning can sit on solid ground, the other way means that you always have to hope that people don’t find out your secret.

More on this topic later, and let me know you agree or not. I’m also interested in what you’d like covered in the next post.

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