What To Do If You’re Getting Fewer Customers Than You Deserve

Here’s some of the best advice I ever got:
“You can’t get different results, by continuing to do the same thing. If you want to see a change, in business or life, you’ve got to make some changes first.”
It makes sense rationally, if you think about it. Yet, most of us have a hard time making changes, even when we want different results. Why is it so hard to eat less or better when we want to lose weight? Why is it so hard to go ask for a raise? Why is it so hard to end a relationship with somebody who doesn’t have our best interests at heart?
Change is often uncomfortable and uncertain.
Maybe you can afford to not make changes in some areas of your life, but when it comes to your business, you don’t have much of a choice. You know with every cell of your body that you want to make your business work, and doing the same thing will only get you the same results.
If you’re not getting as many customers as you’d like, here are three changes you should consider making in your business:
#1: Go after a different set of customers
Do you remember the 80/20 rule? It was invented by economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1897, and nowadays it’s widely applied in every industry. It states that 80% of your output comes from 20% of your input. One application in the marketing world is that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers (always true).
This rule is so publicized and so widely accepted today that few people would believe the circuitous route through which it came to be known. After Pareto created it, he put it aside and sadly moved on to something else.
Later, Joseph Moses Juran, a Romanian born US engineer and quality expert (the man behind the Quality Revolution of 1950-90) had the great idea to use the Pareto 80/20 principle to discover quality faults and improve the quality of products created industrially.
Unfortunately, no major US industrialist was interested in Juran’s theories.
But Japan loved them.
In 1953, Juran went to lecture in Japan and found an audience extremely interested in his new ideas. So he stayed for a while, working with several Japanese corporations to help them radically transform the quality of their products using the 80/20 principle.
Once Japan started becoming a threat to the US industry in the 1970’s, the US suddenly started paying attention to Juran. So he moved back to the US and helped the US industry in the same way he helped the Japanese one.
Juran knew his idea was good. When he couldn’t find the customers he wanted in the US, he looked elsewhere.
And so can you.
If you believe in your product and in the way you market it, and the customers you’re going after right now are not buying, consider looking for a different set of customers. You might simply be chasing the wrong group of customers.
Just because other businesses in your industry are targeting the same customer group, it doesn’t mean you should as well. For example, instead of parents, try grandparents. Instead of entrepreneurs, try medium size businesses. Instead of HR heads, try CEOs.
Three things to consider when you test a different audience:

  • Choose people who can afford your products
  • Don’t choose the people who need a massive amount of convincing that your product solves a problem
  • Choose people whose values are aligned with yours as a business

#2: Improve your product
Now, the naked truth is that sometimes people don’t buy a product because the product is not ready yet to be sold. It just needs more work. Maybe it needs to be polished more, maybe it needs to be altered somehow, maybe it needs to be packaged differently.
Whatever the reason, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed. You know it well in your heart (and from your customers) when you have to go back to the drawing board. It takes time and different iterations to create an amazing product.
#3: Set up a reliable marketing system
When you have a good product, and when you’re going after the right customers, the only reason why you might not be getting as many customers as you deserve is because you don’t have a reliable marketing system in place to convert people into customers and to bring them back for more sales (or referrals).
I call it a system because all the pieces have to work well for the entire system to work. Just like a car engine, if one piece doesn’t work, the car won’t move.
For example, one piece of the system is knowing how to get people to buy the first time. But contrary to what many people think, this is just one tiny piece of the entire system.
Other pieces include creating an emotional connection with people before they even buy, breeding loyalty, making people feel appreciated after they buy, getting them to buy again (or to refer others), knowing how to research your customers, etc. These are all equally important.

Photo credit: Roman Kraft

Mihaela Akers