The fast answer is that they don't try.
What is your true commitment level?
Two weeks ago I got a call from someone wanting to set up a new store selling African products in Los Angeles. He had seen our catalog, and was calling to get one for himself. I took his information to send the catalog, and asked if he would like to hear some ideas on how to get started.
After hearing my ideas; he said that he agreed 100%, and that he wanted to do these things to get himself started. He sounded as if he was totally committed to making this business work.
He also sounded extremely grateful to hear what I said (which was nice for me to listen to). From the conversation, he really trusted that what I said was right. The things that he needed to do were common sense solutions that he had only partially thought about before; and now that he knew what to do, he was even more excited to get started.
Not only that, he trusted that Africa Imports was the best company for him. I even knew the man who he was working with to set things up in Los Angeles. I had seen this man regularly over the last five years; and had worked together successfully with this man on other projects. I knew exactly where the caller lived. I could tell him that there was a Shell station on one corner, and a Mexican chicken fast food restaurant across the street. I knew the mall that he was wanting to be in; and who else was already selling African products in the same mall. To do what I suggested, this person needed to buy a $49. item. The caller said he would call back right away to get things started. That was more than two weeks ago, and I have not heard back from him.
Please don't think that this next statement is heartless until you have read the whole article. When someone tells me that they can't come up with $49. I simply don't believe them. Virtually anyone in the US can come up with this much if they really need it. If a person wants to have their own business, and will not find $49. somewhere, I assume it is because they just don't want it bad enough. A family member who I said this to about a year ago, said I was just not being understanding: some people just can't spare $49. Although I think that I am basically helpful and understanding; our business has to focus on people with more commitment. To me, not coming up with this much money somewhere indicates a low level of commitment. To start or grow a successful business, $49. is an unbelievably small investment. For us to succeed, we need to spend our time and effort on the people who are investing their own time, money, and effort on making a new business. I will probably follow up with this person soon. If this man eventually calls us back to order products or to get started, I would want to give him all the help I can. I would guess however that there is less than a 10% chance that he will ever call us back. Chances are that he will still be thinking about this a year from now.
If you feel the same way as I do, you will do things differently in your business. Even if it feels like the wrong thing to do sometimes, you will start 'ignoring' some of your prospective customers. You will spend most of your energy on customers who buy from you; and spend less time an effort on people who don't. You will still try to find new customers from people you have already seen or talked to; but you will spend more time on existing customers and on brand new prospects.
What do you think? If you were in my shoes, would you basically write off this potential new customer; or would you spend more time and energy to get people like him started with African products?
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