5 Things You’re Doing To Kill Your Business

by Travis Ketchum · 6 comments

Man ignoring mistakes by covering his ears

Even if you don’t realize it, you’re probably doing something that’s having a hugely negative impact on your bottom line.

Nearly every business on the planet is forgetting to use at least ONE (or more) of these to grow their business and it’s only a matter of time before their competitors do beat them to it. None of us want that to happen.

Are you making these common mistakes?

#1: Follow-up Failure

Just as we touched on in our last post about “Focusing on What Matters“, too many people seem to be focused on the buzz today and forgetting that everything is about relationship building. Having a good procedure for collecting interested leads and following up with them over time is one of the best ways to have stable sales.

If you aren’t perfecting your follow-up, then you are leaving huge amounts of money on the table and in most cases don’t have a “real business” because your revenue probably depends on you constantly chasing the next deal, client etc instead of curating people who want what you have to offer and simply giving it to them.

(Still not collecting leads? If you’re just getting started AWeber is a great choice.)

#2: Trying to Close Too Fast

“When I first started in business I made the same mistakes everyone else did. I tried to close like a 17 year old boy… I’ll give you a minute to chew on that one.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, @GaryVee

Your customers are quite good at knowing when you’re trying to sell them something. In fact, they’ve become to sensitive to it that opt-out and spam rates are on the climb even when you aren’t trying to sell anything.

The best way to combat customer skepticism? Actually be a trusted adviser instead of a pitch fest. It seems obvious, but so many people out there will mail an offer to their list every day and never give anything back. Worse yet, they won’t even utilize a “grace period” before pitching a new offer to their brand new customer.

Nothing turns of a fresh customer off like bombarding them with offers the second they show a little interest.

#3: Prioritizing Acquisition Over Retention

This one has been pretty blatant in the mad dash to capture “fresh blood” in terms of list building. It’s an easy mistake to make when you first see the power of a good list.

Many companies forgot that names & emails are more than just that, they are associated to people that start to react to the way you present yourself in aggregate. One of the bigger examples of this was AppSumo, when Noah Kagan issued a public apology to all their customers because they started to not care about what happened after acquisition.

(Screenshot below to keep you guys from having to deal with their “welcome splash”)

Noah Kagan apologizes to AppSumo customers
How to avoid list fatigue and keep people interested, longer:

  1. Push the send button only when the content is really good/useful or the offer is incredibly relevant
  2. Ask your audience how often they want to hear from you using a poll, every market is different
  3. When you do sell, try to do it in a story, it helps lower the salesman vibe and actually engages people

#4: Overreacting to Negative Feedback

Just like in grade school, not everyone is going to like you. It’s just the way of life, and that’s actually totally okay.

The first time a small business or startup gets some negative feedback or, ahem “haters”, it’s easy to take it to heart and overreact.

Someone tell you your price is too high, even though you have lots of other happy paying subscribers? Good riddance. They don’t like the ideology behind your business, but you’re proving that it’s plenty viable for a particular kind of person? That’s cool too.

In my experience when these things happen, it usually means one of two things.

  1. You’re prices are actually vastly too LOW, because you should be targeting a more premium user
  2. The targeting of your user acqusition is too wide, and you should be uncomfortably specific about who your customer REALLY is

When taken in stride, negative feedback is one of the best places to learn about what the identity of your company really is.

“The only time you learn something from customers is right when they sign-up or as they are leaving” http://bit.ly/WbSFtA via @TravisKetchum [Click here to tweet this]

#5: Pretending User Behavior Isn’t Changing

I’m still amazed how many times I hear a company use the excuse of “We’ve made it this long doing it our way, we don’t need to adapt to how people think we should do things”.

The reality is, now more than ever it’s an adapt or die kind of marketplace. Some HUGE companies have completely tanked by taking this attitude.. just take a look at what has happened with Blockbuster, Borders, Kodak etc.

Even 10 years ago it would have been crazy talk to imagine them driving the bus off a cliff, yet that’s exactly what happened.

The moral? Every company should dedicate a portion of their energy on poking their head outside of their own bubble to see what’s happening in the world and take notes about ways they could improve the way they interact with customers, curate great content and earn good will within the marketplace.

About Travis Ketchum
A smart ass marketer who doesn't take no for an answer and always questions the status quo. Connect with me on Google+. Convinced yet? Get more tips and great content 100% free.

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Building a sustainable business is all about how well you can gather and maintain an audience. An email list is still one of the most viable ways to do just that.

We wanted to find a way to build an email incredibly fast, in a way that people actually find interesting, engaging and well - cool. It took a lot of testing to weed-whack through all the hype and find something that really worked.

The result? We ended up building our own solution, focused around the idea of contests and rewarding people for taking the actions that ultimately led to more leads on our email list. Everyone wins (and some literally do!), because as it turns out people love contests regardless of their market place.

Click to continue…

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Butler January 22, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Excellent! Everything I knew I needed to do and have been putting on the back burning. I could have a massive list if I just took the time to go through emails. Silly me on that. Thanks for the good info.


Travis Ketchum January 22, 2013 at 7:43 AM

The hardest part for most people is just taking that first step towards doing what they know needs to get done.

If this was the nudge you needed to get after it then great! 🙂


Kennett Kwok January 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Excellent read. It’s very clear and brings up some great points that I need to think about! Not to mention that I am entering the startup world too.


Travis Ketchum January 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Glad you enjoyed it Kennet, it’s the best hustle in the world imho.


Karina Eva February 7, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I just read the first 12 lines and I am already writing what I am doing to do tomorrow.
Thank you for the reminders Travis!


Travis Ketchum February 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Glad you found it helpful Karina!


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