I remember the dream that led to my very first business so vividly. It’s like it was just a few months ago. 20 years ago I hadvery little computer and Internet skills. I was 32 years old, my oldest son was just 8 years old, my babies were 1 and I was pregnant with my little guy. YES. I was pregnant with my youngest son when I first built my online business. Crazy! I know!
My marketing training was all self-taught and consisted of ‘studying’ how other website owners made their online storefront inviting, easy to go through and an enjoyable experience. I’d take note of colors, words that were used and not used, what was on the right and what was on the left of the page. How bold, red and yellow highlights were used or not used. Photos told a story, as we didn’t have video yet to bring you into our online storefront. So captions and headlines were very important, even more so than they are now!
I had just a few items when we started out:
– Kitchen mixers that were $249-999
– Blenders priced at $329-799
– Grainmills marketed for $219-449
– Mixer attachments
– Baking items that were very exclusive at the time and hard to find: vital gluten, dough enhancers, high-end yeast and more
– A few select cookbooks I’d never be without
My slogan was simple: “If it’s not in my kitchen, you won’t find it in my store.”
I did all the hard work of researching vendors, testing products and people trusted my recommendation. What I had that big online chains did not was a personal vested interest in each product, I was a stay at home mom who really used each item, and I was dealing with a lot of the same issues my customers were; budget, wanting high end items on one income in our home, etc.
My newsletter was professional but very personal. You felt as if you were in my kitchen, having a slice of my fresh, warm, home-made bread and coffee with me as you read along. YOU, my customer, we’re like family, and I took your purchase very seriously. It was our honor to win your business.
All of my companies have been built and run like this. I never studied a bunch of business trainers courses or strategies, I always obsessed and studied the PAYING CUSTOMERS, and the stores they bought from. I wonder if this is why I didn’t get confused by methods, best practices and strategies because I didn’t even know such things existed! I was only focusing on how to serve well and earn the sale. As a matter of fact, when I did start studying a lot of people’s marketing trainings two things happened that were very confusing:
– I doubted my own success, even though by that time I’d made millions of dollars and had built 3 successful businesses that did more than $12 million in sales combined
– I got confused by so-called best practices and best ways of doing business. Because I never joined the ‘How To Build A Business’ culture, not knowing most of these things was the best thing and it is what separates me from the people who were constantly trying and searching for a ‘step by step’ plan.
What can you learn from this? Well, first of all, that it’s more important to know your customers and the stores they currently shop at than it is any best practice. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s important to spend a lot of time where your customers are and not comparing several business trainers systems. The bottom line is this: knowing what your customers want, what they’re already buying, how to be like the places they already shop at but in your own unique way will make you more money than memorizing the AIDA copywriting plan or the Golden Thread strategy for your sales page.
People buy products.
People are loyal to people.
People love brands that make them feel good.
People will do anything to feel like they belong.
Serving the person first is the biggest lesson in closing the sale.
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