Somebody needs to tell him that this just isn’t going to work.

I was shredding old papers from last year, and had a revelation.

We have an extensive questionnaire that prospective clients complete as part of our Marketing Flight Plan Service, in which we offer a consultation, an SEO analysis, a 31-point website usability checklist, and a competitive analysis.  For the past eight months, we’ve required this before we accept anyone as a new client.

Why do we make it harder for people to work with us?

Because we want to be sure we’re working with the right people!

Of course there are other very good reasons. It gives s an excellent starting point to talk about a consulting or coaching relationship, get off on the right foot, understand our prospective client’s priorities and objectives, what’s already been tried and to what effect, what resources we have to work with, and so on.

We used to offer this service for free. We have since began to charge a nominal fee ($270) for it.

Why do we charge for this service?

Because we found that we were spending a lot of time working with prospective clients that didn’t have a chance for success.

The investment was a signal, to them and to us, that we expect them to put some thought and effort into it.  And to let them know that they could expect valuable information in exchange for their energy and money.

Some examples of things that we saw on these questionnaires, were from before we charged for the service.

  • Last year’s expenditure for all marketing activities – $0  or “?”
  • Budget for next year for all marketing activities  – $0 or  “?”
  • Expectation (From a flight school)  -To double business volume in one year, while spending less time dealing with students and their problems.
  • Expectation – “To outsource all marketing and customer service so my business will run without all these interruptions from customers.”  (Most people research marketing solutions because they want more customers. )
  • Question – “What is the one thing that should I study or implement to bring in customers?”  (Answer- many things.)
  • Question – “What one book will tell me everything I need to know to be able to sell every time?” (If you find this, let me know!)
  • Competitive advantage – “My product sells itself.”  (Okay, so why did you just complete a 10-page questionnaire to ask for help selling it?)

So, how do you fail in marketing?  By working with people who are unwilling to invest time, energy or money in their own businesses and their own customers.   The world has always been full of them, and as long as they are out there, my spam folder will be full of offers promising people  “the easy button”  or “a turnkey solution” or “the magic bullet.”

If you try one of those, let me know how it works out for you!