A regular part of this column is what I call “Advice from Experts.” It’s where I spend some chatting with people who have considerable experience growing businesses and I get them to share their wisdom with you.
Our expert today is Jim Logan. Jim has extensive experience in sales, marketing, copywriting and consulting. He has, among other things, been a Vice President of Worldwide Sales for a large technology company. He’s written hundreds of articles on the subject of increasing revenue and he’s helped many business owners grow their businesses. In short, he knows what he’s talking about.
The first thing I asked Jim was to share three things he would advise someone to do if they wanted to grow their business.
Jim’s first answer was to “remember it’s all about them.” He said, as you deliver your message to your potential customers, remember to focus on them and not on yourself or your business.
I love this advice because it goes right to the heart of smart marketing. And it’s something so few businesses do well. Most marketing I see is all about the company doing the marketing. They talk endlessly about their company, their awards, their capabilities, yada yada, yada. Some of them never even talk about how they help their customers.
Jim is a big proponent of focusing your marketing message on your customer. Do this by telling them how your company will help them achieve what they want.
The second piece of advice Jim offered was to “have no fear about being an expert.” He said there’s far more demand for specialists than generalists. “People don’t want to hire a jack of all trades” Jim said. And he’s right. From the customer’s perspective, that’s not always useful. Many times, they’d rather hire an expert to help them overcome their challenge.
“The risk in this strategy is that you narrow your focus, and potentially, your market” Jim advised. “But the benefit is you set yourself up to become the provider of choice in that narrower market. You actually reduce your competition.”
Jim’s third bit of wisdom in response to my question was to remember, “no one wants to buy anything you have for sale.” Instead, he said they want to accomplish something. It might be to increase revenue or to lose weight. Whatever they’re trying to accomplish, that’s what they buy. “People buy the benefits or outcomes your product or service provides” Jim said.
After that informative discussion, Jim and I talked a little more. My next question for him was if he had any suggestions for what NOT to do, as you grow your business. His response was classic Jim Logan.
“Don’t be a duck” is what he told me.
He quickly explained. “A duck can swim, walk and fly. But an eagle flies faster and more skillfully, fish are better swimmers and just about anything on legs can outrun a duck.” In other words, ducks can do a lot of things but they are not experts in any of them.