Great opportunities to grow your business are actually all around you.


However many of us don’t see these opportunities because we get caught up in what I call ‘fixed thinking’.

We think that “this is the way we have always done things” so we often miss simple obvious ways to make more sales.

Here is a short exercise to illustrate this point.

These six numbers are in a simple logical order from left to right.

You have sixty seconds to write down what this simple logical order is.

8, 5, 9, 1, 6, 2

Spend 60 seconds and try and work it out now. The answer to this exercise is at the end of this column. Most people get this exercise wrong because they get caught in rigid patterns of thinking. The answer is very simple and obvious yet only one person in a hundred sees it.

It’s the same in your business.

There are dozens of marketing opportunities increase your sales that are simple and obvious yet many people miss these. A good example is the huge ‘hidden market’ for what you sell.

I first discovered the ‘hidden market’ when I was selling a motivational seminar to improve performance and productivity.

I was chatting to a client who had sent one of his top performing salespeople on this motivational seminar. He did this because he thought it would be a nice way to express his appreciation for the great work this sales person had done. (It wasn’t to improve the performance of this person.)

I quickly realized there was a huge ‘hidden market’ for our motivational seminar. The market was business people with staff they wanted to show appreciation to. (This was a very large market.)

So I began explaining how our seminar could help business people say ‘thanks’ to some of their key staff. The end result was brand new sales every month from a previously ‘hidden market.’ Your hidden market might be a new distribution channel:

Cindy Cashman saw an interesting idea for a new book called “Everything men know about women.” The book had over 100 pages and they were all blank. Cindy liked the fun nature of the book and began looking for ‘hidden’ distribution channels to sell massive amounts of her book. (She ignored traditional book shops as her book would be competing with thousands of other books for sale.)

Instead, Cindy approached businesses like women’s clothing shops and got them to display her book next to the cash register. Women shopping at these stores would pick up the book because of the catchy title, laugh when they saw it was totally blank inside and would then buy copies to give as gifts to people they knew.

Cindy kept the price affordable and sold over a million copies of her blank book within the next few years. (And her book is still for sale today on Amazon.)

Your hidden market might be a new use for your product:

Take a florist shop: A huge ‘hidden market’ for most florists is what I call the ‘raving fans’ business market. In other words the market is businesses that want to turn their normal customers into delighted raving fans. (This is a massive market.)

The florist could simply approach local businesses that sell expensive products and services and offer them a ‘raving fans’ service. So they will personally send out a nice pot plant or bouquet of flowers to each new customer from one of these businesses. And include a hand written ‘thank you card’ with the flowers or pot plant on behalf of the business.

This would go out a few days after a person has made a purchase. The florist would take care of everything and all the business has to do is give them the name and contact details of each new client.

This unexpected gift would delight customers and generate a lot of repeat and referral business. And once a business saw how well this worked they would use the service on a regular basis. So one new business customer could easily produce dozens of profitable new sales every month for this florist – All from tapping into a ‘hidden market’.

I believe there is a huge ‘hidden market’ for many products and services. And when you tap into this hidden market you will be amazed at the new sales you can make.

‘Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.’ -Author Unknown

Answer to exercise:

The six numbers are in alphabetical order from left to right.

Most people when they see numbers try and work the problem out mathematically which is incorrect in this case.