Customers Are Everywhere, If You Know Where To Look

Take a good look at the picture. This is solid proof that customers are everywhere around you.

You just have to keep your eyes open.

This is what I’ve coined the “Sales Cycle” – and it’s where you can find customers at any point in your business. Some people you are just meeting, others, you have been doing business with for a long time, while others still have known you, but never done business with you.

It works kind of like a wheel. You are at the hub, and each “spoke” represents a public-facing point in your business where you could potentially meet new customers. The right half of the image is where most people think of meeting new clients (Meet, Lead, Client), but customers are also found on the left half of the Cycle.

But like Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work“. The left side of the Cycle takes a little more work, but produces far better customers as a result.

We dig in deep on this concept in Direct Sales 104, and as part of the updated, expanded Direct Sales 101, I’ll be sharing specific examples of each. For now, let’s give you an overview of what each spoke represents in your business. That just may give you all the fuel you need to make fast progress at attracting new customers to your direct sales business.

1. Meet People – this is something you do every day of your life. You’re online or off, you’re connecting with strangers, and adding them to your circle. Some of these people will pretty much stay strangers in your life – you may never encounter them again. Many of them, however, have the potential of becoming…

2. Leads – these are the folks that have at least a remote interest in who you are and what you’re doing. Over time, if they have a need, and know you, like you, and trust you to their satisfaction, they’ll cross a threshold into…

3. Clients – people that pay you money for what you do! Too often, we think these people are the only people that exist. While it’s true that you’ll spend less money to keep current clients than you will to attract new ones, that is only helpful if you actually have clients in the first place – and enough of them to keep you in business. For most of direct sales professionals, with a re-order rate of 1.1 (meaning for every eleven people that buy from you, ONE of them will make a repeat purchase – and only once), this group won’t be helpful on their own, unless you move them into…

4. Delivery – this is where the client relationship is fortified. Typically, it begins at the time of product delivery, which is why I call this spoke delivery. But it could just as easily begin as soon as you take the order – before they’ve received anything more than your good will and gratitude.  How you deliver to the client is far more important than what you deliver or when. All of them are necessary, but it’s the how that often determines repeat business. When it’s done right, it’s a…

5. Bonus – this is where the client relationship is intensified. When you go out of your way to surprise and delight your clients with occasional bonuses, they are oft wont to talk you up, referring to you favorably with their friends and colleagues. Positive referrals beget more business, more customers, and the opportunity to build deeper, richer client relationships. This ultimately gives you the opportunity to…

6. Reciprocate (giving back) – call it charity, tithing, or donating your time or money, the name doesn’t matter. Reciprocity is when you give of your blessings to bless others. You might think it strange to include this as part of the Sales Cycle, since it can often be such an intangible thing to measure. However, my experience, and that of my clients has proven time and again that some of the best business (and positive public exposure) comes from giving back to the community – and often it’s better to give of your time than your money, so there’s very little cost involved to make it happen. People talk about you when you’re going out of your way to make a positive impact in the world. Your direct sales business can be a vehicle for great things, if you remember to include giving back in your Sales Cycle. The best part? Getting involved and giving back often puts you in a position to…

7. Meet People – oh! here we are at the top of the Cycle again. See how that works?

You could easily find yourself on different spokes of the Sales Cycle at the same time with different people. Unlike a “funnel” where you’re trying to “push” clients through it to your desired end result, this Sales Cycle gives you an at-a-glance approach to dealing with each person uniquely. You can see quickly where they fall in the Cycle, and what your best approach is to working with them.

Over time, the Sales Cycle becomes a powerful tool to help you track the opportunities in your business, by making it clear where to focus your business development. Not generating enough leads? Take a look at what you’re doing to meet the right people for your business. Surprising and delighting your customers, but not seeing referrals? How are you handling delivery? If you keep an eye on each of the spokes of the Sales Cycle, your business will continue to roll along nicely.


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  1. Carla K.

    Great Article… I never thought of the relationships between myself and clients as a part of a cycle.

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