What a Stinky Dog Can Teach You About Business

I love my dogs.  I currently have two…a mixed breed collie/rottweiler type and a golden retriever.  Since the mixed is growing old, my wife and I are considering getting a third one soon…another golden.

My wife and I treat our dogs like children.  They run with us.  They play with us.  They cuddle with us.  The big difference is when you want to go out for the evening you don’t need a sitter.

“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot little puppies.”
(Quote of Gene Hill)

With all their good parts, they also have a few negatives, especially when you live in the country surrounded by trees and farmland like we do. One of those negatives appeared very brightly yesterday.

Goldens are hunting dogs, and ours hunted something he definitely shouldn’t have.  He obviously found a skunk, and let’s just say he wasn’t a sweet smelling animal after that.

This is the second time he has done this in his life.   So we have some experience from the first time.  If you’d like a hint, that old wive’s tale about tomato juice doesn’t work.  We tried it the first time.  Although it does turn your dog a nice shade of pink.  Much better are some mixtures you can make or the a skunk-off type product. 

What does all this have to do with business?  Everything. 

When someone has a serious problem, they’re desperate for a solution.

They want a solution today.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a little expensive.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a little hard to find.  It doesn’t need long sales copy to convince someone they need it.  They just want relief and they want it now.

What would it take to sell a product that removes skunk odor to someone who doesn’t have the problem?  It would be a nightmare to try and sell the product.  You might write a long letter. You might show all your advantages.  You might be everywhere.  Yet no one who doesn’t have the problem right now will buy it.

The most important element of your marketing is your audience.

You must have a hungry crowd.  That’s why good business starts there.  Find a group of people who want a solution to a problem.  Then give it to them.

Here’s how to make your business life much easier and more profitable.

Step One – Find a hungry crowd. 

This could be through finding out what keywords people are using on the search engines (for SEO or PPC).  You might go to newsgroups (both Google and Yahoo have large interest groups you can search through).  This could be through finding magazines that cater to your target market. ALWAYS make sure you have an easy to target group of people who you can cost effectively reach.  It’s the #1 most important part of your business.

Step Two – Ask them what problems they have.

Research the market.  Run a survey.  Find out what problems they have…that they want to solve.  A way many people make a mistake is by looking at a market and figuring out what problems they think the market needs to solve.  Forget it.  Let them tell you what problems they want to solve! 

Step Three – Sell Them a Solution to their Problem.

Most people do this all backwards.  They come up with the product they want…and try to find someone to sell it to.  That’s the hard way of doing things.  Find the audience first.  Let them tell you what they want.  Then find a way of solving that problem.  During your survey they’ll tell you what is most important to them and even give you much of the wording for your sales copy.

Step Four – Find a Way to Put a Backend in Place.

This could be additional products you offer on the backend.  You might sell a higher ticket item or come up with a continuity program.  The key idea here is to find out what other problems that same market wants to solve.  Then sell other solutions to their problems.  If you don’t want to provide them with any additional products, then joint venture or become an affiliate with other products/services for that target market.

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