Fran Biderman-Gross calls herself the “Strategista” of Advantages, a New York City-based company that helps companies to get noticed through branding, marketing, and print production management. Her professional background includes more than twenty years’ professional experience in the niche print industry, but when it comes to her Paper Napkin Wisdom, she's all about turning things upside down (or in this case, on their side).
If you envision the traditional sales funnel, you see a Y-shaped graphic with all the effort of your business focused on eventually converting hundreds (if not thousands) of leads from the top to one or a handful of customers at the bottom. Tradition says that this is a numbers game - increase the number of leads, you increase the number of prospects, and eventually, you increase your number of customers.
Fran's take: tip the funnel on its side (so it looks like a megaphone) and concentrate on what you're projecting out into the world. What you project should be singular and simple; focus on this “one thing” that you put into the megaphone because it has the ability to spread - and what you wait to hear is the echo. The echo means articulating the purpose of your company so well that only like-minded people respond.
There certainly may be difficulty in accepting the idea that you should stop selling to people (and accepting customers) who don’t echo your message. By focusing on those that echo your message, however, you create ambassadors of your brand. You create an indirect sales force that gives you the flexibility to abandon those middling clients that you accepted just to help keep the lights on.
Think about Apple. If Apple communicated in a "traditional" way, they would talk about what they do and why they’re different. “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed and simple to use. Want to buy one?” Instead, they draw from the inside out - why they exist - through inspiration. “We challenge the status quo by thinking differently. We just happen to make computers.” Which one of those two messages resonates better with their customers?
As a result of this commitment to the projection of purpose, Fran’s business has grown in the neighborhood of 700% since she discovered this philosophy. In her experience, if you shrink what you do, you actually grow. Focusing on the “one thing” you’re really good at allows you to become the master of your field. The process to find the “one thing” was painful for Fran and her business - a trial by fire - until they started focusing on the client and service what they need (as opposed to trying to shoehorn their services in). Eventually, the trust that is developed creates a relationship where clients are describing a problem that requires a solution, rather than asking for a specific product or service.
Tip your own sales funnel on its side and project your true purpose to the world. Begin the journey by discovering what is important to you (and why). Then answer those questions for your business. The process is trial and error, but will eventually yield the ability to build the necessary trust with your customers.