Imagine having to hear (or deliver) this...
”I wish I had better news, but you have no room to run.”
A potential client had to hear bad news: “I wish I could help you out, but you don't have room to run with this service.” She begged me to reconsider, but I don't like taking money knowing the outcome will not change.
If it's not obviously clear from the beginning, one of the big questions I like to address in research is, “Does it have room to run?” Even if you think you know the answer, here's an example of why it's important to take the time to look:
The V.P. of a company called me out of the blue on my cell. She had gotten my name from a mutual colleague. In her voice I could sense the desperation - her B2B services company was in trouble.
Despite its glorious run for many years they were losing clients and hadn't had a new sale in many months. Now they were looking at shutting the doors if something couldn't be turned around, and she was hoping I could quickly breathe new life into her marketing.
Here are the steps I used after I looked at the company website to get a handle on what they were doing, and hopefully they'll help you out as well.
I used a keyword scrapper (like Spyfu or SEMRush) to gather keywords that pertained to her service and top ranking competitors.
This also gave me the trends for traffic and keywords. At the same time I dove into the competitor sites to see what their traffic was responding to and I looked at their trending keywords.
Then I went to the competing websites themselves.
It wasn't until I started going through the competitor sites themselves that I noticed the problem:
Competitors had migrated to new platforms and spaces; this company was stuck in old formats and services that were now outdated. Traffic going to her competitors was for the sleeker, new, shinier things with the up-trending keywords.
Without a big and immediate change to her services, she was basically trying to sell buggy wheels to Ford.
This exercise is as much about finding the money as it is about avoiding disaster!
FOR PRODUCT PROVIDERS: Every single product goes through a sales cycle where it is a rising star, a steady sun and then a flaming burnout. Don't pick a product to promote that is about to flame out, crash and burn. Pick one that has room to run. In other words, don't try to force buggy wheels onto a market that drives a modern car.
FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS (Life coaches, CPAs, etc.): Your world is no different. Promote the service people want that makes you the most money. That may not be, and often isn't, the core service you provide, such as tax filings. Use this opportunity to investigate your high end service that is in demand, that makes you the money, and let the lesser service more closely tie that new client to you. A dentist I worked with was roller skating from one chair to the next all day long until he discovered that dental implants were in demand and that seeing one patient a day was less stressful and more profitable than seeing 40. Now he pulls in $250k a week in implant income, still offers core dental services with techs and an additional dentist, and he is home for supper every night.
As I delivered the bad news she kept repeatedly saying,
“I know...I know. The market has changed. Competitors have changed...how our customers do business has changed. We just need to find a way to better position our service.”
NO! Their service needed to change. There was no point in trying to market an outdated service that no one wanted.
Be aware that having “room to run” can mean three things:
It can be about making sure your market isn't saturated and therefore more sales are waiting to be made.
It can also be about making sure your product or service is still bright and shiny, not a buggy wheel.
But it can also be about finding the profitable, more enjoyable service or product to promote.
Morale of the Story?
It pays to be brutally honest while looking at your own situation. Don't try and force fit a buggy wheel on a Ford. Don't try to find a market that doesn't exist. Don't promote it if it doesn't make you money. If a product or service you look at from your own repertoire doesn't have room to run, move on to the next one.
And one other point: Notice that in all of this, the language has concentrated on one product or service...not a dozen. There is a very good reason for that. If you want to know why this is so important, book your first of two free phone sessions with me. Here are the details!