The Biggest Mistake Most Business Owners Make: Failure To Control The Conversation

In this blog series we've covered positioning and how if you position yourself correctly you'll have no competition. We've covered how to build credibility, and I even gave you my million dollar secret for media success and our formula for the business trifecta. We've laid it all out.

But the third and final pillar of the Brand or Die triad is what ties it all together. To refresh you, the first two pillars are Positioning and Credibility. The final pillar is Community.

Here's the secret: when you build community, you build value. You can base a community off of anything. A community is a group of people who have some common thread. It can be based on geography, interests or hobbies, or even things you dislike. It can be anything that ties a group of people together and creates a common thread-- and what I really want the common thread to be is you. We'll get deeper into this concept in future posts, but for now, let's look at the best way to start building community.

Over 99% of people who visit your website will never come back. Why? Well we don't really know for sure, but we can assume they get distracted, they forget. The next time they search on Google someone else's info pops up first, which obviously doesn't help you build your business. So let's cover the biggest mistake that most business owners make.

They all make this very simple but costly mistake:

They don't capture the prospect's information the first time they arrive on the website (this holds true for brick and mortar businesses too, they don't capture the information of the prospect when they arrive at the physical location either).

So, in case I'm not abundantly clear, the majority of the time, more often than not, the only goal you should ever have for a first time visitor to your website is to capture their information by giving them access to something that will interest them enough to give you their most valuable commodity online besides their credit card, which is their contact information. Why?

So you can control the conversation.

When I'm speaking to large audiences, I'll often ask this question, "How many of you are looking to buy a car this month?" I get maybe one person, maybe two, depending on the size of the room. "How many people are going to buy a car in the next six months to a year?" I'll get 20 % of the room or so. Then I'll ask, "Who's going to buy a car in the next three to five years?" And all the rest of the hands go up. The point is that everyone in the room is a prospect for buying a car, but if I were only looking at who walked in the door today, my prospect list would be very small. This exact same concept holds true to your business. Not everyone is ready to buy right this second.

When someone visits your website they're interested in what you have to offer but they may not be ready to buy today. So it's our job to make them opt-in to your email list so you can control the communication, so that you can educate the prospect ... so that when they're ready to buy they know that you're the most trusted resource.

So again the only goal you should have when someone visits your website for the first time should be to capture their information. Then you can control that communication and you can use it to build a community of people who trust what you have to say and are interested in what you have to offer. This strategy will not pay instant dividends in most cases, because the reality is that many prospects just aren't ready to make a purchase yet. But instead of losing the prospect altogether, by controlling the conversation you can use their period of indecisiveness to build an irrefutable case that you are the best choice. When they finally are ready, you're in prime position to get their business. With time, you'll have an entire community of prospects engaged in conversation--and you can look forward to a dramatic increase in sales as they make up their minds and purchase your products or services.

We'll have more on community in our next post, but for now: are you capturing your prospects' information effectively?

JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors that consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their Web site. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.

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