The Most Important Commodity

Every day my team fights for one precious commodity. We give money, time, energy and creativity for it. We spend thousands of dollars to get as much as we can. It is becoming more expensive and more scarce. It is your attention.

Remarkably, we have your attention right now. Later today, you will be taking in a relentless amount of text, images and sound. Your brain will be processing and shifting continually. The ability to distinguish between relevance and noise will become tiring and laborious.

Your customer will be doing the same thing. The reality is that your customer behaves differently than they did 20 years ago. They behave differently than they did even two years ago. Everything is becoming relentlessly fast. People’s email inboxes are overflowing and unorganized. Phone etiquette has stretched to the point that people do not even extend professional courtesy by returning calls. Flashy advertisements are ignored and bore onlookers. Everyone has too many choices. Everyone feels rushed. They are not paying attention to you. You look irrelevant and invisible.

Have you thought about how to engage the people you want to do business with rather than try to sell them? Engaging them means having their attention and bringing value. Value means you have something that is valuable enough to keep their attention so that they want more.

The key question is whether you will put the work into the process of gaining and expanding attention. In today’s economy, where we have so many choices and everyone is buying something right now, you must be relevant at the right time. You must be a person and a business that comes to mind when the buyer wants to buy, not when you want to sell. Here are three ideas to help you get into the present era and do business the way people are buying:

1. Define Value: Value is a conceptual word. Get concrete. What really is important to your customer? Don’t talk about yourself and how great you are. If you were them, what would it be? Why are they even considering your product or service? It is not an end in itself. It fits within what they want in life.
2. Get Credible: If you are trying gimmicks, people pick up on it easily. You do the same when you shop. The cute flyer or the person throwing t-shirts at you do not work to get you to buy. What works is how your mind sees a company, product and people. What shapes that are the images you associate with the brand. Pictures reinforce. Writing positions. If you are going to compete for attention, you must commit to writing or hire our team to help you get in the game. Think about the millions of Google searches done every day. Are people looking for cute pictures or looking for content? They are looking for something. If they can’t read it from you, you are not in the game. You don’t get the benefit of talking to a Google searcher. You must already be positioned.
3. Keep Raising Your Game: If you wore the clothes you had four years ago, you would look outdated. If you keep using the same technique to connect with your customer, it becomes outdated. Your customer can be wowed once by a thing. They want to continually be wowed. That means you must become a person who continually grows in knowledge and ideas that bring the value you defined as important to your customer. Your customer does not care about your company. They care about themselves. They are out there trying to make money, solve problems, and be comforted. Be about the same things. Bring advice, ideas and perspective to help them get these things done, and your value will be there for them to buy when they are ready.

Put these into action, and you will be doing business the way people want to be served. It starts with getting and keeping attention. When your customer sees your name or your company name, they should be looking forward to it. It should excite them. They want to give you the currency of attention. If you cannot get their attention, they will never buy. If you do the hard work of thinking about how to gain attention and build systems for this, you will win.

Our work to help companies increase demand focuses heavily on our understanding that getting and keeping attention is the root issue. You may agree, yet you can’t think through how to implement. You may want to get in the game and hire us to solve this root problem. Take action. Focus all your energy on figuring out how to expand attention, and you will be on the path to business growth.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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