Here I was, about 20 minutes after take-off in a two engine, flying a training mission with a student. While climbing to cruising altitude, the first engine on the jet started acting up, indicating fuel and oil problems. My student got nervous and I told him to shut that engine down, declare an emergency with air traffic control, and point the plane toward the next suitable airport. A few minutes later, while in a steep descent towards the ground, the second engine indicated oil pressure issues.
If you know anything about these fighter jet planes, you’ll also know that they fly about as well as a brick if you lose propulsion. My student and I worked together to nurse the one remaining engine and started praying that it would last until we get onto the runway. When we finally touched down a few minutes later and rolled towards the taxiway, that second engine crackled a few times and stopped running. We had to be towed to an emergency parking position.
So here I am and man, am I glad to be alive to tell the tale!
I was understandably eager to discover how in the world it was possible for both engines to stop working in just a few minutes apart from each other. Particularly when everything looked good during my walk-around inspection a few hours before take-off.
Overnight the mechanics had exchanged the fuel nozzles for the engines and forgot to properly clean the connecting lines. Initially, during take-off the enormous pressure pushed the fuel through the nozzles normally. When we gained altitude and reduced pressure to cruise speed, the particles in the lines that had not been blown through the nozzles started clogging the system resulting fuel to not go through.
I reminisced this episode recently and in my mind I was reminded of the exact same situation I find a lot of small and medium size businesses in.
How, do you ask?
Well, the companies I have had an opportunity to help often appear to have the same crackling engine when it comes to their revenue and profit growth. Most of these entities, when they started, they had a great idea for a product or service. With the first version ready, the founders went to market and got some recognition for the new thing they created.
After a while the initially curious and immediately ready buyers where identified and sold. Did you know that less than 1% of potential buyers are actually ready to buy right now? That’s true for any product or service – unless it is a necessity of life, like water or food.
If you don’t offer a life necessity like that, you will have to find a way to get beyond the 1%. I actually hate it when people tell me that there is a markets of hundreds of millions or billions of Dollars and all we need to do to be successful is collect 1% of it.
What you really need is to develop and establish a market dominating position that allows you to get a majority of the potential buyers to buys your service or product. If you only go after the 1%, your growth engine will sputter and ultimately go out of business, just like the engines on our jet did.
So why are businesses reaching that plateau (often well before they reach 1% of their potential buyers)?
The answer is simple, because they don’t approach the market in a strategic way — They tell people what is expected.
How often have you seen a car wash advertisement telling you that they “clean your car – guaranteed”!
Isn’t that what’s is expected of a car wash anyway?
Same goes for other products and services: “Fruit Juicer that gets all the juice out of the Oranges”
No! Really? You’ve got to be kidding me!! I’ve always had the one that leaves the Oranges half squeezed!
Services like the plumber, carpenter, carpet cleaner, and almost everybody else “guaranteeing high quality work”. Makes me sad that I could not find one that offer mediocre quality work
Medical services like dentist, pediatrician, etc. “offering state of the art medical services – because we care!”
Thank Goodness! Someone finally cares!
So, if these businesses and services are not supposed to offer “Guarantee”, then what’s that one trick that works?
Make a difference. Be different.
Reach out to your potential clients and customers that you have what they are looking for and how they can learn more about it – By doing this, you can move them along on their buyer’s journey towards the point where they become part of the 1% ready to buy now.
Here is an example: “You experience stiffness, pain, and discomfort – and want to finally get rid of it? Learn how we can remove the pain and make you feel great in 60 minutes or less. Here is a detailed free report that explains the methods we use – and if you can’t wait, please give us a call at 123-456-9999.”
Two simple steps that act like fuel to your sputtering engine:
Step 1: A statement that makes sure I have found what I am looking for
Step 2: A claim that tells me how to solve my issue, first through education and information, and then through action – i.e. calling (when I am ready).
So, if you feel your business growth engine is sputtering and you don’t want to crash and burn, or flame out at the end of the runway, we invite you to apply our two-step winning formula.