Attention is the Key Growth Metric

I was starting to fume a little…which is not like me.

Erin could tell I was about to walk out of the restaurant. It had been over an hour since we placed our order. I’d tried and tried to get the attention of the waiter. When he finally came back to the table, he told us he’d forgotten to put in our order. 😡

I don’t think I’ve ever been as frustrated over a meal. Frustration is precisely what I hear from entrepreneurs who can’t seem to get the momentum going again. Just like my waiter, they have prospects that just aren’t paying attention.

Let’s dissect this business of attention to understand why it’s the key growth metric in your business.

As usual, we’ll look at three elements:

  1. Why attention is the precursor to opportunity.
  2. How to capture the attention of prospects (and how not to).
  3. Why holding attention is the most effective way to maintain growth.

Here we go…

Why attention is the precursor to opportunity

At that restaurant, I really wanted another beer. Yet, without the attention of the waiter, I didn’t have the opportunity.

With your prospects, if you can’t capture their attention, you can’t help them, sell them or serve them. You may as well not exist as far as they know. This is where virtually all firms get stuck—they don’t know how to get the attention of the people they want to serve.

I get the opportunity to take clients through a deep strategy conversation when we begin our work together and I hear the frustration of years of banging heads against walls because, after trying everything they can think of, they still struggle to get the attention of the right people.

As the frustration sets in, most business owners look for ways to get bulk, thinking that it’s a numbers problem.

Capturing Attention: It’s not a numbers problem. It’s a value problem.

The simple truth of attention is that people will willingly give you attention if you’re giving them something they value. In marketing, this means making your marketing inherently valuable to the prospect you’re trying to reach.

That’s one of the reasons we’re such big fans of using podcast interviews to reach prospects and influencers directly (ie. interview them). If you’re selling to other businesses, any opportunity for an entrepreneur to promote his or her business is valuable.

That’s why we invest so much energy and time into creating books and articles like this one. Because you find it valuable, we get your attention. (Thank you!)

The question to ask yourself is “Am I creating enough value, in advance of making a sale, to win the attention of the people I want to serve?”

Why we all hate being pestered (and how that should guide your marketing)

I get messages similar to this one just about every day on LinkedIn…

Don’t be “this guy.” The key to capturing (and keeping) attention is delivering value to your prospects.

I’ll bet you do, too. I don’t know this person, we just connected and he’s not done anything to win my attention. He sees the challenge as a numbers problem—and when you don’t have anything of value to say, it is a numbers problem. But to make numbers work, you need BIG numbers. So he blasts out a message like this and “hopes” it lands on someone who needs him right now.

Does this approach work. Yes, as I’ve said before, show me a marketing tactic, and I can show you an example of it working somewhere. Is it easy, no. You’re always paranoid that the trick you’re using to get this thin message in front of large numbers of eyeballs will go away or become too expensive.

In this case, his days are numbered. This was surely sent by a LinkedIn automation bot—tools that LinkedIn is working to eliminate (they violate LinkedIn’s terms of service).

Value never wears out. We always want it.

Capturing attention is one thing. I can yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater and get everyone’s attention for a moment. But it won’t last.

This was the problem with my waiter. I had his attention for a brief moment, yet he soon forgot all about me. I couldn’t hold his attention.

Holding the attention of your prospects over time (weeks, months, years, decades) is the key to consistent growth.

Again, the reason you hear from me twice a week is that I want to hold your attention and I’m grateful for it. But why do I want to hold your attention?

Because every lead we acquire, and every lead you acquire comes at a price. You invested time, energy, or money (and often all three) to “acquire” the attention of a person.

If you lose it, you’ve squandered the investment and lost all hope of a return. Yet, when you hold attention, those investments begin to mature in their own time. It’s like dollar-cost-averaging for clients.

Every week we get a steady trickle of maturing investments—inquiries from leads generated last month, a year ago, and sometimes many years ago. In fact, for the first quarter of this year, we intentionally slowed down some of our lead generation to focus on building our team. And, those maturing leads kept us growing.

But that doesn’t happen overnight. That’s nine years of investing in delivering value, collecting the attention of people, and holding it.

Ask yourself, are you caring for the “attention asset” you work so hard to win? Are you giving yourself the opportunity to reap the rewards of that investment over time? If not, why not? What’s in the way?

I’m on a mission to make capturing and holding the attention of your IDEAL clients easy (even for a too-busy entrepreneur like you). I spent the last two weeks developing a new presentation that shares how we deliver value up-front to connect and build real relationships with prospects and influencers. And then, hold their attention over time without a lot of work.

You can watch the video here.

Steve

P.S. Update on The Follow-up Formula book… The book project is expanding a bit. It’s designed to give you the skill of follow-up. That means knowing how to respond to whatever a prospect does—inquiry, proposal, radio silence, etc.

The best way to do that (in addition to what I’ve put in the book) is to have some “look over my shoulder” videos that show you how I think through responses. These will be in addition to the templates that are already planned for the book. Getting those videos done is going to push things out, so we’re looking at a July launch.

If you’re not on the early-notification list, add your name now. There will be some special extras for those on the list…

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