How one comment killed my first business [read: 2min 48 sec]

My first business was going quite well. I was 7 years old and made a dozen or so sales, totalling ƒ1,67 (yes, this was well before the € days).  Sweets cost 5 or 10 cents, so even splitting this profit with my business partner would allow us to indulge. Then HE killed business with just one comment. 

“Why would I buy seashells from you, when I can just pick them up at the beach?” 

Growing up we’d go camping for 3 weeks at the same campground each year. I had a friend there and we decided to sell seashells (not at the seashore ?). We walked around the campground asking people sitting in front of their tent if they wanted to buy shells (door to door was our business strategy). Prices ranged between 1 and 5 cents. 

Until THAT man (he might have been early twenties, but we were 7) spoke those nasty words. Nasty, as his tone was a mixture of ridicule and anger. 

We were so shocked – and a bit scared – that we closed down business immediately. Had I known then what I know now, business could have been booming all summer. 

Why do people buy something they can easily pick up themselves? 

Convenience. You’ve done the hard work for them. As we had gone to the beach, collected shells and delivered them to their tent. People work with me on their LinkedIn Business Strategy because I can get them in hours where I got after years of research, trial & error and finetuning. 

Likeability factor. People relate to you, like your style, personality (back then cute pigtails) and want to support you and your business. That one guy got annoyed (not everybody is your ideal client) for others two little girls with a bunch of pretty shells might have totally brightened their day and that is what they paid for, not just the shells. When using LinkedIn to reach your goals in business, strategy involves more than content and engagement. Tone of voice, values and personality are equally important.

Awareness. We could also have done a small craft project and then sell shells as kits. People buy when you create awareness of their needs. I mean, if you are just sitting in front of your tent, instead of lying on the beach or having lunch at a café, you might well need a little craft project that keeps you entertained and becomes a great keepsake of the holiday, right? 

When you post on LinkedIn, do you just show pretty shells that people can easily pick up themselves?

Or do you touch their pain-point (I’m bored) and bring a solution (craft activity). 

Sharing your knowledge on LinkedIn is a great way to gain visibility and trust. For visibility and trust to convert into clients, it helps to speak to them directly. I can write how-to posts about revamping your LinkedIn Profile, Growing your LinkedIn Network or creating a LinkedIn Business Strategy… 

But when I write about: “Using LinkedIn to attract clients, without it taking up your day” people who are not into prospecting and people who feel using LinkedIn is a time sucker will pay attention. 

?????????? Share YOUR first business story in the comments. I’ll reply by translating it into a LinkedIn or business tip.