How to Find New Customers for an Old Product

Q: I have a legacy product that my customers love. How do I keep its promotion fresh in order to drum up new excitement and new customers? — Brad, Gainesville, Fla.

Businesses can learn a lot about marketing relevancy from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve worked closely with the bodybuilder turned actor turned governor for nearly 10 years, and I’m continually amazed by the way that, at 72 years old, he can charm a room of aging gym buffs — then post a video on TikTok and have 20 million teenagers laughing.

It’s a master class in satisfying the old and intriguing the new. To replicate it, any entrepreneur must understand when to create excitement and when to double down on the familiar.

Related: 4 Steps to Growing Your Business Now

We’re conditioned to believe that new things generate the most interest, excitement, and, as a result, sales. But there’s a twist. Stanford University neuro­scientist Robert Sapolsky has famously studied when we form our tastes, and he found some useful patterns. In our 20s, we’re most into new ideas. As we pro­gress into our 30s, we start to desire familiarity instead of novelty. If you think about it, this makes sense: When we’re young, new triggers excitement. As we age, consistency creates comfort. (Just think about the evolution of your taste in music.)

Knowing this alone, of course, isn’t enough to help your business succeed. But it is a reminder that understanding your customer can help unlock opportunity.

Much of what makes something cool isn’t how long it’s been around — it’s how effectively it makes people feel. “Reason might reveal why we should believe a certain truth,” writes Jason Harris, CEO of creative agency Mekanism, in his book The Soulful Art of Persuasion. “But a well-told story does something even better: It transports us to a place where we can see or experience that truth for ourselves.”

To keep your company fresh, focus on telling its story and determine how you want that story to spread. You don’t need something new to have value; you just need your value to be top of mind.

Related: How to Deliver More Authentic Customer Experiences

Consider the following questions: Why does my company exist? Why is it more relevant today than ever? Who is aware of my story, and how has it changed over time? What part of my story speaks to my current customers, and what part do new customers need to hear? Where is it best for customers to hear these messages?

You might need some insight to answer those questions. Ask current customers for feedback, and offer rewards for their time and help. Ask new audiences for their time as well, and offer something simple like an Amazon gift card in return. (After all, you first need their insights; their business can come later.)

Once you have clarity, you can tackle the hardest part: deciding how, and where, to tell your story.

Related: How to Find the Holy Grail of Product-Market Fit

To engage your current audience —­ especially if you have a direct line of communication like email — you could encourage them to tell your story for you. A referral campaign, for example, can turn them into even stronger advocates and amplify your message.

To reach a new audience, revisit those earlier questions: Where do they consume information, and how will they be influenced? Depending on the age and interests of your target audience, consider anything from paid social ads and influencers to podcasts or traditional TV ads.

Just remember, if you and your legacy product are still around, it’s a competitive advantage. Don’t try to be like the new, flashy companies — most of them will fade. Your promise can be reliability: When customers need you, you’ll be there. That trust and security will help you say “Hasta la vista” to the competition.

Your Company Needs You to Put In a Full 8 Hours — of Sleeping

The dangers that poor sleep poses to human beings have been well-documented, Entrepreneurs, in particular, are susceptible to those risks. We work long hours, are prone to stress, and carry loads of information in our brains. None of these habits are conducive to good sleep.

Moreover, business owners are particularly eager to embrace a “too busy” status as a badge of honor or strength. We don’t stop to think about what it really means – that we aren’t efficient enough to get our work done in a reasonable workday.

Noted entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk fell victim to this faulty thinking in a big way, as evidenced by an interview he gave to The New York Times in August 2018. In that interview, he attributed a string of business and personal crises to 120-hour workweeks.

That’s no way to live, but it’s a potentially dangerous way to run a business. Follow these five steps to reclaim good sleep and improve your performance at work.

Related: You’re Too Busy? No, You’re Not. Here’s Why.
1. Understand the dangers of poor and insufficient sleep

As admirable as Musk’s many business accomplishments are, it’s a bit dismaying to see his apparent periodic lack of appreciation for just how essential good sleep is.

Consider what happens as you carry and further build a sleep deficit:

Reduced hand-eye coordination
Decreased response time
Memory deficits
Increased feelings of depression
Weakened immune system

2. Find out how much sleep you really need.

Establish how much sleep you actually need. Statistics show teens need quite a bit (ten to twelve hours), while the need may diminish as we age. Seniors may need considerably less sleep than they did when they were younger.

More sleep isn’t always the answer, either. In fact, it’s possible that too much sleep can be just as much of a problem for performance. Some studies suggest that longer sleep sessions may be associated with reduced cognitive ability, at least for adults in middle age.

Generally speaking, seven to eight hours of sleep a night is optimal for most individuals. However, it’s possible that some people need less or more. To find out, remove or minimize as many distractions as you can that might interrupt your sleep and turn off your morning alarms.

Related: Too Much Sleep Can Kill You, Scientists Say
3. Create an optimal environment for good sleep.

Just as important as the amount of sleep you get is the quality of that sleep. Ten hours of restless tossing and turning, punctuated by long hours of wakefulness, may well result in a foggier state of mind than four hours of high-quality uninterrupted sleep.

Increasing the quality of your sleep is often a function of different factors such as environment or pre-sleep habits. To create an environment that helps you get the most restful sleep, adjust each of the following factors as necessary:

Room temperature: Science suggests that regulating your room temperature is an important factor in making your sleep better. Cooler rooms reportedly help maintain a feeling of tiredness. They also help stop sleep disruptions that can occur in warmer environments. The optimal temperature range seems to fall between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Electronic usage: One of the quickest ways to ruin a good night’s sleep is to use mobile devices at night. The blue light emitted by mobile displays disrupts your body’s natural production of melatonin and alters your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
Ambient and outside light: Install blackout shades on your windows to ensure outside light sources don’t disturb your sleep.
Weighted blankets: A relatively recent development in sleep hygiene is the weighted blanket. There isn’t much research on the issue yet, but some studies suggest that the added heft and pressure of a weighted blanket can aid in physical relaxation, leading to better, deeper rest.

Related: 6 Sleep Habits and Early Morning Rituals of World Cup Champion Alex Morgan
4. Create positive routines that result in good sleep.

The second half of the quality sleep equation is to establish soothing routines that help signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Establish a comforting wind-down ritual and repeat it every evening. For example, a warm (but not too hot) bath or shower, and a few minutes of restorative yoga, can make a world of difference. I also like to read before bed (I forego the spy novels and choose spiritual or philosophical material). Also, try a few minutes of journaling. All of these can help you wind down before bedtime.
5. Explore sleep aids.

As a last resort, explore over the counter (OTC) and prescription sleep aids. You may want to concentrate specifically on non-prescription medications and supplements in the beginning.

However, even OTC sleep aids can present health risks to some, especially if misused or used for prolonged periods of time. Medications like Unisom, Tylenol PM or Benadryl may not be the best answer for continued use.

Other products you can try include melatonin, St. Johns Wort, and chamomile (generally consumed as a tea). If you’re taking other medication, especially prescription drugs, talk to your doctor before starting any other supplement or medication. Even OTC supplements can interact dangerously with some medicines.

Prescription medications should never be your first choice, as they carry serious potential side effects. Your doctor may want to order a sleep study first to rule out sleep apnea and other physical conditions.

4 Ways to Handle and Overcome Your Fear of Rejection

Evolutionarily we were not meant to exist in isolation. Inside, each of us has an innate fear of not being accepted or having our contribution shunned by the community we feel the strongest resonance to serving.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, the sting of rejection can pierce like a dagger to the heart. It can be extremely hard not to take rejection personally. It’s our ideas, our blood and our sweat and tears that are being shown the exit.

The success of any business comes not with necessarily being the biggest, the best or the fastest. It comes from being the most innovative and adaptive. We often forget the underlying truth that rejection experiences have given birth to cutting-edge enterprises. In many cases, rejections have been the genesis of brilliant solutions that would otherwise have been unfathomable were it not for our mental anguish.

When you learn to embrace and practice certain strategies, you’ll no longer fear or try to avoid rejection. You may actually look forward to it.
1.) Acknowledge and prepare for rejection.

Most of us become angry when, despite putting in eighty-percent of the groundwork, our customer then decides to work with our nemesis. Overcoming rejection actually occurs from accepting the emotions that come with it. It is OK to feel angry and frustrated. The emotional and mental weight you feel is just as valid as any physical pain. In the long run, it’s more appropriate and healthy — emotionally, mentally and physically — that you allow yourself to feel that.

Always have a rejection-processing protocol in place. Debrief with personal and professional support people who can empathize and appreciate your experiences without passing judgment, criticizing or looking to give you immediate advice. Primary acknowledgment of its emotional and mental impact upon on you is essential.

Related: Stories of Rejection From 8 of the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Over time, examine the suite of likely reactions you have when rejection opportunities bare their unattractive heads. Know this about yourself. Being able to predict your own responses as well as build in the foresight that rejection is possible can also greatly lessen the blow. You will feel a greater sense of control knowing what may lie ahead and knowing you’ve got processes in place to handle it.
2.) Find the blessings in every rejection experience.

There will always be customers that do not like us, our service or our product. Whilst this prods us to do comparison reviews of systems, processes, products and service quality, put that aside for a moment. We often can’t see it at the time, but in many cases, rejections are blessings in disguise.

Do you want customers who wish to discuss minute details forever and a day, only to decide they want to start from the beginning again just as you were about to sign-off on the contract? Do you want to be treated like a commodity on-call 24/7, expected to make ‘urgent’ changes to a blueprint during Sunday evening quality time with your family?

You don’t want these customers. Nobody does. Refer and direct those customers to your competitors who are open to being treated this way — you are not.

In this respect, understand your competitors’ businesses actually complement your own. Even if you provide almost the exact same service as your neighbor, remember that you are the brand and that no other individual can copy you or your reasons for being in business. Customers are smart. You might also unforeseeably impress and surprise those very customers who are treating you unprofessionally.

Related: When to Fire That, Er, Abusive or Disruptive Customer

You can put on your match-making hat and referred those clients to a business which better fit their needs? Don’t become their case manager, but what if you then followed up to find out if such a customer was happy? They certainly would not forget the lengths you went to. Such service is rare. Riding the positive wave of your satisfaction from doing this will be far better than sulking and bidding them good riddance under your breath.
3.) After licking your wounds, feed your growth mindset.

Steve Jobs was rejected and sacked from his own company, Apple, in 1985. After purchasing Pixar Animation Studios from Lucasfilm in 1986, he went on to generate his first billion dollars. Today, Pixar is the most successful animation studio of its kind. Not a bad comeback, some might say.

The whirlpool of unsavory emotions we experience in rejection is often a great catalyst for stretching our minds laterally to dimensions never visited before. You might initially doubt yourself, question your competency and your self-worth but after you have weathered the storm, activate your growth mindset and start asking questions.

What can I do differently? What have I discovered about myself? What changes can I make in my business? Could I have handled the closing conversation better? What will I do differently next time? What else is possible?

Never stop at licking your wounds only to return to the status quo. Never.

Related: 14 Steve Jobs Quotes That Offered Great Advice For Entrepreneurs

Post-rejection always builds in a strategic review not just as an individual but with a relevant business coach or consultant. Just like Steve Jobs, you could be at the cusp of a discovery that will change your business and your life forever.
4.) Transform your definition of rejection.

We often ascribe rejection to something wrong with us. Start-ups and solopreneurs are particularly vulnerable to thinking rejection means they are not good enough. Even though this might resonate with you, it doesn’t mean your thinking is accurate.

Invite yourself to consider, Are my deductions about myself actually true or is it the pain speaking? Does it hurt so much because I wanted so badly to be accepted and validated? Is my service or product simply not substandard but simply not the best fit for that customer?

Consciously practice thinking more about the positive consequences of your being rejected. What opportunities can you now see that have been hiding behind the clouds of the status quo? Rejection can, in fact, be a glorious unveiling of new possibilities.