How to break free from the death grip of obscurity

It’s a total shame isn’t it?

To be so amazingly wonderful, so fantastic, so awesome, and yet nobody knows about it.  In a way, it’s almost tragic.

And yet for several hundreds of years, that was the story of Machu Picchu.  If you’re not familiar, it’s the ruins of an ancient estate built by the Inca’s back in the 1400’s. It is an archeological wonder.

The stone city, containing more than 170 buildings, thousands of steps, several temples, and sixteen fountains was built with impeccable craftsmanship.  Experts say the precision of stone fitting in certain buildings “almost defies explanation.”  Even without the use of mortar, some of the stones fit together perfectly.  More than five hundred years after construction, you can’t get a knife blade between those stones.

What makes the construction of Machu Picchu even more fascinating is how the Incas did it.  They didn’t have the sophisticated tools used today.  They simply used stones, to carve the other stones into the shapes they needed.

Today, the ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. There is an abundance of beauty and mysticism surrounding this treasure. It’s no wonder that hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to Machu Picchu each year.

Machu Picchu was always awesome, but not always popular

The Inca’s abandoned Machu Picchu in the late 1500’s.  And although a few local farmers knew about the site, it wasn’t until hundreds of years later that it began to get worldwide attention.  That’s when a researcher from Yale was led to it by a local farmer and his son in the early 1900’s.

That’s hundreds of years of obscurity for such a fascinating, mystical, and marvelous site.

Now, there are so many tourists flocking to it, there are restrictions on the number of people able to visit each day. Reservations to hike the 4-day Inca trail must be made months in advance.

The story of Machu Picchu is a magnificent one.  A great city few people were aware even existed, was one day discovered.  And as a result, multitudes of raving fans from all over the world come to behold it.

It’s a story that many entrepreneurs see, and hope happens for them.  Their ideal customers don’t know they exist.  Yet they work tirelessly day in and day out in their businesses.  They just keep working, hoping that one day customers will notice their awesomeness and start banging down their door to get their good stuff.

Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn’t work out that way.  When it comes to your business and getting your customers to love you, you cannot wait for them to come and discover you.  You could be waiting for a day that never comes.

So take the fate of your business into your own hands.  Break free from the death grip of obscurity that has ended the dreams of far too many entrepreneurs in the past.

How to escape obscurity

You’ve got to let your ideal customers know you exist.

The first inkling you may have about spreading the word about your business may be to go run out and tell everyone you know to buy your stuff.

And then after you’ve told all of them, you may want to start telling everyone you come into contact with to buy your stuff too.

It’s tempting to do, but resist the urge.

You may get some sales that way, but ultimately, you’re training people to tune you out. As you chase them and their money, you are signaling to them that when they see you, you’re going to want something from them.

That’s not what you want. Your customers (and your friends and family) don’t either.  You want your customers to want what you got. To make that happen for you, you’ve got to play things a little smoother.

So here are three essential steps to take to end obscurity once and for all while getting your customers to want what you got.

1. Find out where the cool kids hang out

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out where your customers are. Where do they spend their time? Is it online?  If so, is it on Facebook, YouTube, or do they hang out on news sites like HuffPost?

You need to know where they get their information about how to solve the problem you can help them with. It’s also helpful to know who their trusted sources are for getting information.

This step is super important because you want to make sure you are putting your energy in the proper place.  You want to make sure you are going where the people who will most appreciate what you have to offer will be hanging out. If not, you may capture the attention of some customers, but if they aren’t the right ones for your business, it won’t do you much good.

2. Show up and get chatty

Once you know where your customers spend their time, you’ve got to join them there. You’ve got to show up.

So if they often hang out on Pinterest, you need to be on Pinterest. If they go to networking events, or all the hottest parties in town, put on your party clothes and meet them there too.

That way, your ideal customers will notice you. Become aware of you.  Get comfortable with you.  It sets the stage for you to become someone they know, like, and trust, the foundation for a healthy, lasting relationship.

But you can’t just lurk.  You’ve got to participate in the conversations that are being had.  You’ve got to be a helpful, contributing member of the crew.

Then when you see opportunity, go ahead and take the next step.

3. Jump into your customers’ heads

Once your customers know who you are, and have a level of comfort with you, it may be tempting to run up and say “buy my stuff!

Still, don’t do that.

Famed copywriter Robert Collier explained the perils of that approach, and what you should do instead:

If you were in deep discussion with a friend over some matter, and a stranger came up and said: ‘Mister, I have a fine coat I want to sell you!’ what would you do?  The same thing happens when you approach a [potential customer].  He is in discussion with himself.  If you just butt in, will you be welcome?  How would you do it if approaching him and his friend in person?  You’d listen and get the trend of the conversation.  Then when you chime in, it would be with a remark on a related subject.  Then you could gradually bring the talk around logically to the point you wanted to discuss.  Study your reader.  Know what interests him.  Listen to the conversation he is already having with himself.  Enter where he already is.

When your customers begin to express a particular problem they are having, you can then add your two cents.  Only now as a trusted person they know and like.

And that two cents may be you empathizing with what they are going through, or sharing your own similar experiences. Then you can move into how what you have to offer may be of benefit to them.  What you have to say is welcome, because you are joining the conversation where it is already being had. In a natural way.

By engaging with your potential customers in this manner, you are able to draw them in to you, instead of pushing them away from you. You become the person who shares helpful information in a non-invasive, non-pushy, non-threatening way.  You become the person they look to, when they’re ready to move forward to solve their problem.

Time for your customers to get introduced to your awesomeness

There’s a pretty simple formula for getting your customers to want what you got.  First you have to be awesome.  Then you’re customers have to know you exist and how you can help them.

We covered how to be awesome in the last lesson.  And now you know how escape from obscurity.  Now all that’s left for you to do is apply the steps.

Then pretty soon you may have to set limits on how many customers you can help in a day.

For your business, that’s quite an enviable problem to have.