Let me ask you a question: is your business suffering…or is it sizzling?
But before you answer, let me tell you a story.
There was once a young mother who was very interested in getting educational toys for her first child. She was a stay-at-home mother and she wanted to teach her child how to read and count.
She looked high and low for quality educational materials in the town where she lived but she couldn’t find any which suited her needs.
She didn’t want any old ‘pasar malam’ building blocks or books with badly printed graphics. She wanted educational toys, where her child could learn how to use his brains to figure how to put things together, build something, create something.
She resorted to buying these educational toys whenever she had the opportunity to visit her family in the city or when she travelled overseas.
The more she used these learning materials (they were no longer toys in the true sense of the word), the more she was hooked. She started telling her friends, who were also mothers like her, about these fantastic materials which could help their children learn better and faster, all without the stress of learning. After all, she could see that her son was really engaged in playing but at the same time, started to learn rapidly.
Soon, mothers started begging her to get them the learning materials. In order to get the products in bulk and with larger discounts, she decided to source direct from the distributor in the city. The distributor sold her the products and in no time, she had a nice little side business going on.
It helped that she never really ‘marketed’ the products. She just told her friends what product worked, and why. She tried the products with her son. In a sense, he was her true guinea pig. If her son loved it, and played with it for hours, she’ll tell her friends it was a worthwhile buy. If her son threw it aside after five minutes, it was not worth the money.
Her business grew and grew, right out of her apartment. She initially kept the learning materials stock in her spare room at home but word-of-mouth, satisfied clients and educated mothers who wanted more than just building blocks helped her business increase so much that she is now the owner of a bustling little business.
She is now the proud owner of her own educational toy shop in Penang which she calls a one-stop shop for parents to buy learning materials for their children. She sources only for quality and every product must meet her stringent requirements or she won’t carry the brand at all.
Just the other day, she said that her distributors asked her an odd question.
“Business is so bad! And you dare to set up a shop?!”
She was curious about this so she asked, “Is business really that bad?”
She had believed all this while that the children’s learning materials business was a niche business and by the kind of response she gets from enthusiastic parents (who finally can get their hands on the kind of educational materials only found overseas), she thought business couldn’t get any better. In fact, the potential market for the business was huge!
I told her that why her business model worked and why her distributors’ weren’t.
Her business works because she first starts a relationship with the customer who rings her or asks for her.
She doesn’t sell to the customer at all.
All she does is talk passionately about the joy these educational materials have brought to her children (she now has three children) and why they’re worth it. She also demonstrates how to use the materials with children, giving her customer no pressure at all to buy.
She educates everyone who asks her, regardless if they’ll buy or not. She doesn’t “sell” at all. Instead she gives the customer a sense that he/she has learnt something new. She’s also a keen people-person. Chatting with her is wonderfully comforting and she never comes across as pushy at all.
I tell her that her business and her shop will work because she’s enthusiastic and she’s willing to give things a try. She’s willing to share information with every customer.
And she also has a website that works for her 24/7, 365 days a year. If you don’t have a website these days, you simply cannot be visible and cannot market.
So is your business suffering.. or sizzling?
If your business isn’t sizzling as it ought to, maybe it is time you took a look at your selling and relationship-building process and looked into your website too.
Is your process and website created to help you sell?
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