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BBH Feature: Focusing Only on People Who Want to Buy TODAY is Costing You Future Sales

New York’s Ambitiously SHORT-SIGHTED “City Fathers” 

the early plans for new york city

I came across a story about the “city fathers” of New York city that I reveals the common problem that many business owners have.

It is said that as the “city fathers” contemplated the future growth of the city they made a key decision. They decided to lay the streets of New York by numbering them from the center outward.

If you take a look at their early planning maps, you can see that they attempted to project how large they the city might grow.

So they stretched their imaginations beyond what they thought was possible and they drew streets on the map all the way out to 19th street. 

They called this farther street on their map “Boundary Street” because they were sure that’s as large as New York City would become. (Don’t laugh! There were only six or seven streets at the time!)

But history has proven the city fathers to be extremely short-sighted! 

At the last count, the city had reached something like 284th Street.

The potential growth for New York was beyond their expectations!

What if I told you that you as a business owner have made the SAME MISTAKE and the potential growth for your business was way beyond your expectations?

Don’t believe me?

Read on and you soon will…

The Eye-Opening Truth of “The Rule of 45 ” 

Jim Obermayer

Jim Obermayer

Jim Obermayer is the CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and he has come up with an interesting rule that reveals that most business owners are as short-sighted as the “city fathers” in New York.

Let me explain.

Jim came up with a rule that he calls “The Rule of 45, which  says that 45% of all inquiries (not just qualified sales leads) will eventually buy from someone. 

And get this… This time-frame for this purchase is usually (but not always) within 12 months.

Did you catch that?

45% of the people who make inquiries to your business will purchase what you offer from someone within the next year!

Jim says that the percent that buy in three months is usually between 10%-15% and the percent that buys in the next six months is 26%. (The remaining 4%-9% will buy within the next 12 months.)

That means that somewhere 36%-41% of the people who contact you will buy WHAT YOU ARE SELLING within the next 3-6 months!

But don’t miss this important fact…
They AREN’T ready to buy today.

That means that there’s a fatal flaw that many business owners are making.

The Fatal Flaw of Focusing Only on People Who Want to Buy Today

jeremy miller, sticky branding

Jeremy Miller

In his book Sticky Branding, Jeremy Miller states that only approximately 3% of your market is ready to buy at any given time, the rest is not.

In other words, only three out of every one hundred in your market is ready to buy right now, today.

But what are most businesses mainly focusing all of their marketing and effort on?
They are focused only on those who are ready to buy today.

That means that if what Jeremy says is true, and if what Jim Obermayer is saying is true, then for every 100 people that will buy in the next year, these businesses are missing out on 42 of the potential sales that they could be making!

Do you see why I say that focusing only on people who want to buy today is the fatal flaw that most businesses are making? 

The Three Step Solution to Making More Future Sales Starting Today

If businesses want to stop making this mistake and begin to make more of those sales from people who WILL buy from someone within the next year, then they have to do three things:

1. You have to make another offer besides just “Buy Now!’

If the only offer you make to every inquiring and every prospect is just to buy now, then you are going to continue to miss out on the future sales you realistically could be making.

If the 42 out of 100 people in your market aren’t ready today, but they WILL buy one day, then what might they want today?

What they want today comes down to one basic thing: information.

Think about it. They might not want to buy today, but they DO want:

  • Answers to their questions
  • To know their options
  • To know what to look for and what to be aware of when purchasing what you offer
  • To hear about other’s experience with your product or service
  • To know more about you and your business

That leads us to the next thing you need to do.

2. You have to give them a reason to give you their contact info.

The people that are coming to you, or who you are contacting, might not be ready to buy today, but they DO want the types of information I mentioned above.

That means that you need to give them this information “packaged” into formats such as:

  • Paper or PDF reports (That you mail or that are on a private part of your website, only accessible by a password)
  • Email “sequences” that they need to sign-up for (email courses, a “tips” ezine, etc.)
  • Private Facebook groups
  • Video tips (again on a private part of your website, only accessible by a password)
  • Etc.

(IMPORTANT: You must make this “packaged” information valuable enough that people would be willing to pay for it. And make sure to give your packaged information intriguing titles!)

When the inquiries come in, or you reach out to prospects – and when you can tell they’re not a part of the 3% who are ready to buy today – that’s when you need to find out what they do want today.

Do they want answers, opinions, to know what to look for, helpful tips, etc.?

When you find out what they’re looking for, then offer your “packaged information” to them in exchange for an email address, mailing address, or whatever is most appropriate.

3. Follow-up with those people, so that when they’re ready to buy, your business is the one they choose to buy from.

Once they give you their contact information, your job is to then give them the information they asked for.

If it’s something you need to send my mail, then mail that information out right away!

If it’s something that you can send them by email, then you can set up that information to be sent out automatically by using an email auto-responder service. 

The auto-responder service that I use is  (<-an affiliate link) and really like it.
But there are others you can use such as: Vertical Response,, and others.

But don’t forget what Jim and Jeremy said!

The MAJORITY of people aren’t ready to buy today – even after you send them the information that you packaged and sent to help them.

So the key is going to be being patient and continuing to follow-up with them! 

That means that you have to continue to help them by sending them more of the types of information they are looking for:

  • Send them answers to more of their questions
  • Send them ideas about other options that they have when looking for a solution
  • Send them testimonials from your customers about your business, your products and/or your services
  • Send them case studies from your clients
  • Send more information and stories about you, your business, etc.
  • And don’t forget to send them emails and ask them how they are doing, what other questions they have, if they have any other similar problems, etc.

You can do this by mail (aka direct marketing) or by email (aka email marketing).

The thing that I like about using email to send them information is that I can program my auto-responder to automatically send out this follow-up information every few days, once a week, once a month, or whatever you want!

If you want to learn how to grow your business using email marketing, then you can grab a copy of this free guide “Growing Your Business With Email Marketing” from Aweber (This is again an affiliate link.)….

grow your business using email

Why This Will Ensure That Most of Them Will Only Consider Buying From You

But whether you use direct marketing or email marketing to follow-up, the key is to follow-up, continue to help your prospects, and build relationship with them, so that when they are ready to buy, your business is the ONLY ONE they consider purchasing from!

And, if you follow-up, then your business WILL be the only one they consider buying from.

Why? Because all of the other businesses will have already forgotten about them long ago – after they didn’t purchase from them the first day.

And the day that they made that fatal mistake was the day they handed over those future sales to you and your business!

Let your competition remain short-sighted, like those early “city fathers.” But let today be the day you stop making that fatal error.

Look, I am NOT saying that every one of those 42 sales per hundred prospects will purchase from your business. They probably won’t!

But imagine if, by following up with those prospects, you just began to get an ADDITIONAL 3-10 sales for every hundred prospects?

Imagine what that would do to your business!

Do you see now, why I said that the potential growth for your business was way beyond your expectations?

Let that thought inspire you to begin following-up – or if you’re already following up – begin following up more effectively!

If you need help setting up a follow-up program, then please feel free to contact me and we can discuss some ways that we can work together.

If you have any questions or comments, then post them below!

About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.