The Handyman’s Clue

Most of us are so busy working in our businesses we don’t work on our businesses.

It’s a clichi, but sometimes clichis are true.

Recently, marketing guru Jay Abraham looked in on 24 of his seminar graduates and found that not one was actually using his methods.

None had more than a single referral program. None were systematically upselling or cross-selling. None were maximizing their sales processes or closing ratios.

It didn’t surprise me to hear this. I consulted for some of the “Jay People” a year ago and found that while they had all memorized his principles, none knew how to put them into action.

They were like middle-aged housewives who have all the Richard Simmons tapes and wonder why they’re still not skinny.

The point is that gurus can preach change all they want, but unless you actually make a change, you’re just adding a seminar addiction to your other problems.

So instead of talking about the news or the principles of online selling, I’m going to give you one idea I want you to implement, one that can help any service business maximize its income. It’s one I’ve heard several times, not just from Jay but from other experts like Rob Frankel.

I’ll call it the “Handyman’s Clue.”

The next time you’re called on to do some writing, some marketing, some legal work, or whatever other voodoo you do, find a small project that needs doing and offer to do it for an absurdly low price.

Then do it masterfully for that price and, when you return, look around for a slightly larger job that needs doing and offer to do that. Quote a fairer price — you’ll get the work. And don’t forget to ask if your new “friend” can recommend you to anyone else, because he or she will get the same deal.

Each time you satisfy a customer, you’ll build more profit into the relationship. As the jobs get bigger, you’ll have the money to hire others to help you. You may spend less time doing the work and more time on customer contact, but that’s what it means to be in business.

This can work on the Web, too. Satisfy customers the first time they come in. Make them feel like they’re getting a bargain, and then ask them for both more work and their personal referral.

Some people will take advantage of you, but most people are really nice. Most people will not only give you more profitable work, they will tell their friends about you in order to win goodwill for themselves.

This was what all that “free” stuff we were doing a few years ago was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be about getting in the door, building relationships one by one, then building profit into those relationships. In all the short-term glory of dot-com riches, we forgot that.

Well, lesson learned. But only if you apply it.

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