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How to Sell More by Understanding Your Market

For the next few posts, we’ll talk about my signature strategy for turning your product, skill, or idea into a major cash cow. Naturally, I call it the M.I.L.K. It Method. Here’s a link to the original guide so you can follow along (for free!) if you like.

I stumbled upon the M.I.L.K. It Method during my opening days as a marketer back in 2010. Rather than something I learned by reading a bunch of books and listening to a bunch of podcasts, I learned this method by actually getting out there and trying to “make it” as a marketer. And boy, did it work. Though I didn’t understand why at the time, I used what later became the M.I.L.K. It Method to make $7,000 and win 16 clients during my very first week as a marketer. You can read about my story here.

As I reflected on the success I found, I wanted to determine why things had worked out. I had heard so many stories of other marketers who weren’t so lucky. As I explored it further, I discovered my actions fell within the M.I.L.K. framework, which stands for Market, Idea, Launch, and last but not least, Ka-Ching.

For the next few posts, I will explain why the method worked for me, and how it can work for you. You’ll learn how to use each principle in the method to sell more online regardless of the product or service you offer.

And if you want to listen to this teaching in podcast form, then check it out here.

The Cardinal Sin of Business

If you ask a new entrepreneur how they plan to succeed in online business, they will probably lay out a list of tactics and strategies they learned from a few so-called “gurus.” Unfortunately, I’ve found these “gurus” are more talk than action, and more interested in selling something to you than teaching you how to succeed. Instead of going that route, I want to teach this method free of charge.

Anyway, if you ask these new entrepreneurs (wantrepreneurs?) about the very first thing they should do, many will tell you they need to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and bring it to market.

They put the MVP first. Makes sense, right? You can’t generate new revenue unless you sell a product. Then that revenue can be put into the next product.

What happens, though, is these marketers tend to launch their MVP and get…nothing. 

Nobody cares about their MVP!

You see, 80% of startups fail, and most of them in their first year. I think this is the reason:

They failed to find a hungry market BEFORE they developed their product. They spent a long time investing in their product, but no time investing in potential buyers. Thus, nobody really knows or cares about their product at launch time. This leads to discouragement at best and running out of seed money at worst.

Before you spend a millisecond developing a product, find a market full of hungry buyers. You need to identify and understand your hungry market, and then build a product that solves their problems.

Speaking of which, here is a fun guide on how to understand your market better.

How To Maximize Your Market’s Potential

Let me break down how to identify and learn a market for your upcoming product.

  • Identify a starving crowd.

Gary Halpert is a marketing legend. He would often ask people what they needed to do if they wanted to outcompete his hypothetical hot dog stand. Some talked about getting quality ingredients. Others talked about investing in a marketing strategy. But Gary’s answer would always beat them.

He said, “You can go with your answer. But the one thing I need to do is set up next to a starving crowd.”

This principle is why water bottles sell for $12 at a music festival in the desert.

So, how do you identify a starving crowd?

Get on Facebook and find a group. Google a list of occupations. Find any way by which enthusiasts or professionals organize themselves, and figure out something they desperately need. Let me give you a solid formula: I help [x occupation] do [y activity].

  • I help authors sell more books.
  • I help first-time homeowners navigate the buying process.
  • I help online entrepreneurs build the seven-figure business of their dreams.
  • Fill out an Ideal Buyer worksheet.

Once you find your starving crowd, you need to identify an ideal buyer. In your marketing, you should target this one hypothetical individual. The more specific you get, the better. Your message will still reach people similar to them, but you need to clarify your focus.

If you aim at everything, you’ll hit nothing. If everything’s important, nothing is important.

You can work toward your hypothetical ideal buyer by filling out this worksheet.

  • Get into your ideal buyer’s mind.

Lastly, pretend to be an archaeologist embarking on an adventure of discovery. You don’t have any bias or foregone conclusions packed up with your fedora and whip (Everything I know about archaeology I learned from Indiana Jones).

Go to a convention for your enthusiasts. Sign up for a webinar for your group of professionals. Tune into a Zoom happy hour. Crawl a forum or two.

During all this, don’t just write down their characteristics. Write down the questions they ask. Beneath every question is a problem you can help them solve with your product, skill, or idea.

As you learn about the questions your target market asks, you’ll know how to develop your product, and this product will sell like hotcakes.

But developing your product? That’s a story for next week.

For more secrets the so-called “gurus” won’t tell you about succeeding in online business, check out my podcast:

About the Author
Tom is the host of What's the Secret podcast and co-founder of Offlinesharks.com

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