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October 6, 2010

3 Ways Small Business Owners Confuse Their Prospects

Small business owners are smart, savvy and creative. This is, oftentimes, what causes more confusion with prospects. Let’s use an example to make it clearer.

Imagine you’re at a networking event and you’re talking to someone who could be an ideal client. You’re really focused in on them. You’re listening carefully to their every word. You begin to realize they’re not talking about their business, but about their life. You may think to yourself, “Yeah, yeah, we’re all really challenged economically right now in our personal lives, but how’s your business doing?”

And before you know it, you’ve let that slip out and their eyes kind of glaze over. You wonder, what just happened here? This, after all, is a business event, so why are you talking about your personal life.

Well in case you missed it, for a lot of small business owners, their business is their life. That’s how they support themselves financially and spiritually! And this points to the first reason you can confuse a prospect!

#1 You don’t understand their problem

If you’re not “hearing” the problem and the pain it’s causing them, you may address the symptoms and not the underlying cause. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are an expert in providing health and nutritional products. A prospect complains they’re not feeling well and is in need more energy because they’re balancing work, family, etc. You “hear” the possibility for “supplements” could be helpful to boost their energy. What you may miss is their lifestyle may require an “overhaul” meaning diet, exercise, valuing who they are, etc. So the “supplements” will only give them the energy to stay out of balance!

#2 You don’t understand your comprehensive solution

So you focus on the supplements, however your “comprehensive” solution might include an overall plan for this person. An approach that includes “wellness” of which supplementation is only a small part (even though it’s you’re core business). But you have to know your full repertoire, i.e. all of your available solutions in order to be effective in solving the prospect’s problem. And if you don’t offer it directly, who could you partner with to address the prospect’s problem?

#3 You can’t help the prospect bridge the gap

Continuing with this example. If you were focused on listening for the “business challenge” and not asking the questions that help you see the connection between their lack of business clients and the lack of life balance, you will overlook how the two are, in fact, affecting each other. Your role is to help the prospect clearly see the connection; you have to help them bridge the gap. Otherwise, your prospect will not see how your solution will help both in their personal and business life and the opportunity is lost! And they walk away confused as to what you do or

The moral of the story is? Truly listen to all aspects of your prospects “being” because it will serve as a rich source of information. It will also help you determine if your solution will solve their problem. And after all, isn’t that the business we’re in?

And remember, a confused mind never buys.

Chris Makell helps coaches, consultants, and other solopreneurs create profitable businesses by showing them what to do and how to do it, using proven marketing strategies. To learn how to make more money doing what you love, visit to claim your free special report, “7 Surefire Ways to Get the Most out of Your Time and Marketing Dollar.”