For over a year now I've been extolling the virtues of an SOI business model - that is - basing your business on the power of your personal relationships instead of the power of your marketing budget. (If you don't believe me check out my tag cloud under "soi").I've claimed that I ran a nearly 100% SOI business literally from Day One - a business that was very successful by anyone's definition - in which virtually all of my business came directly or indirectly from the people I knew. I've implied (or outright said) that I never pursued business from strangers.
Well, since arriving in Denver last weekend, I've hardly slept. My 40 year old body has not yet adjusted to the altitude and I can't seem to stay asleep more than a few hours. Can't nap either. So, in my sleep-deprived haze, I had a stunning revelation this morning.
I've been lying to y'all. Didn't mean to, but I have. Sorry about that.
Here's the thing. A lot of my business DID come from my SOI, no question about that. I was lucky to have a large circle of acquaintances when I entered the business and was able to generate quite a bit of support among the people who knew me. God bless ‘em.
However, upon closer reflection, I realize that a not-insignificant amount of my business through the years came from total strangers. People I had no personal relationship with, nor did we know anyone in common. While I've always referred to these sales as SOI-generated, technically, they really weren't. THESE PEOPLE WERE STRANGERS TO ME.
But I'll stand behind my statement (modified slightly) that I never actively pursued business from strangers.
I never cold-called, I never door-knocked, I rarely advertised. I never called a FSBO. I didn't farm.
Yes, I GOT business from strangers, but that business was never the result of PURSUING it.