Aaron Hall : I’m Aaron Hall, attorney in Minneapolis. I’m here with author Mark LeBlanc. He authored “Growing Your Business”. We’re talking about some of those concepts today.
One of the challenges for business owners, Mark, is prospects, attracting prospects, finding them. What advice do you have for business owners regarding that?
MarkLeBlanc :It’s true that you only have 7 to 17 seconds to get your prospect. Even when you go to somebody’s website, you only have seconds to capture their attention.
What I find in a small business world particularly in the marketing and selling process is that people are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to prospecting and attracting prospects.
I’ve broken down marketing and selling in the 4 phases : the attraction phase, the meaningful conversation, the decision phase, and the agreement phase. But it’s in the attraction phase where you make or break the number of prospects that you attract.
There are 3 positioning strategies. You can position yourself by your titles. I’m a consultant. I’m an attorney. I’m a graphic designer. Or you can position yourself by your services. I’m a financial advisor. We work in the areas of estate planning, retirement planning and tax strategy. You know, the typical laundry list. I’m sure as an attorney you find that, too. You can help people in a variety of different ways.
The third way is really to go beyond your titles and to go beyond your products and services to positioning yourself by concept. What I mean by that is : What are the outcomes of your work? What happens as a result of somebody using your products? Or what happens as a result someone engaging or utilizing your services?
Quick example : When I started my company’s small business success, I came out positioned by my titles. “Hello. I’m a consultant. I’m a speaker. I’m a business broker.” No one was attracted to me in a way that he or she wanted to find out more.
After 6 months of no business, I went to positioning by my services. I began to look at what are the needs of my prospects. In a small business world, they need a business plan, they need a marketing plan, they need help with financial systems, they need some human resources.
I began to go into the marketplace and say, “Hey! My name is Mark. I’m a consultant, speaker, business broker. I work at areas of business planning, financial management, selling strategies, human resources and developing your map for marketing, advertising and promotion.
When I came up with position by my services, I literally repelled people. I continued on the path of no business until a real defining moment for me. It was almost by accident. I stood up at a network meeting one day and said, “My name is Mark LeBlanc and I run a company called Small Business Success. I work with people who want to start a business and small business owners who want to grow their business.”
That is what I call a defining statement, a one-sentence response to the question “What do you do?” It’s not title-focused. It’s not service- focused. It’s outcome-focused.
Aaron : Is describing your target market based on your needs?
Mark : On their wants.
Aaron : Okay.
Mark : But my definition of marketing is position what a prospect needs in a way they want it. 8 out of 10 people who have a job have the dream of starting their own business.
I don’t know what the recent counts are. But not long ago, there were 33 million small business owners in America, not counting a lot of independent professionals. For the most part, when they put their head on their pillow at night, they want to grow that business.
Aaron : Sure. So we could say we are business attorneys. Or we could say we work with business owners, in contracts, intellectual property, employment law and litigation involving those.
But what I’m hearing you say is “Take it a step further.” I’m trying to apply that in our environment here. It sounds like what you’re saying is “We work with business owners who are trying to avoid costly legal problems and compliance issues and get out of the ones they’re already in.”
Mark : I think you’re very quickly on track. But with so many different and varied services, it’s very challenging to come up with a defining statement that covers all of them so you may want to step back and look at it service by service because different attorneys will have a different focus.
Aaron : Sure. So you have your employment law attorneys who will help business owners avoid issues of problems employees….
Mark : And hire the right people.
Aaron : Right.
Mark : That’s the dream. With intellectual property, there are a number of dreams there.
We work with entrepreneurs that have ideas, that want to protect and preserve their ideas and leverage their intellectual expertise.
Aaron : That’s excellent.
Mark : That’s a pretty quick study.
Aaron : That is the concept that causes you to get outside of your profession and have a more objective view which frankly can be very difficult for the person who’s actually doing the work.
You provide consulting services. You help people craft these messages via identifying what you’re really doing. How can people contact you?
Mark : They can contact me through my website SmallBusinessSuccess.com or MattLeBlanc.com .
Aaron : Some of these concepts are in “Grow Your Business”?
Mark : They are. Little book that can make a big difference in your business.
Aaron : Thank you, Mark.