I am often approached by small businesses wanting to know what they can do to get the word out about their product. In the time that I’ve been in this industry, I have learned a few things that I am more than happy to share.
In a more and more technologically advanced world, there are more opportunities to stay inside, and never have to leave your house. Ultimately, we can recede back to cave men status, if we want it! However, when it comes time to do business, the people who win are those who have built some kind of relationship.
So seek out those industry experts. Listen to what they talk about on Twitter, on their LinkedIn, on forums or on their blogs. Comment. Offer help, share advice, and answer their questions. Build a rapport for being trusted.
Then, eventually, ask to meet up to chat over coffee. Don’t talk about business until much later and even then don’t try to sell them. Just talk about what your service or product offers. Then wait to hear what they say. When the right time comes, they will think of you above the others, because now you have built a relationship.
These are great opportunities to get to know people in an environment we’re they’re open and receptive to being approached with pitches. Come with plenty of business cards, and again, listen to what problems they’re facing. If your service or product can’t solve their issues, pass them off the contact information of someone who can. They will return the favour too. They will remember your help, and they will keep you in mind for the future. Check out BizNetworkNews.com to find the latest networking events happening in your area.
Websites, Meetup.com, clubs, groups, and associations, all have their Tweetups or online chats. One Facebook group has ‘Tell Us Tuesdays’ where anyone can come and discuss business issues, at 2 p.m. On Tuesdays. Do a Google search to find other relevant Tweetups happening in your industry. Join at least one!
Can it get any easier? Get a booth, and visitors approach you. Face-to-face time gives you a better opportunity than cold calling to talk about your product. Visitors come ready with their questions and concerns, and will ask how you can help them. Be ready with giveaways and contests while there to create buzz around your booth. Additionally, this is where you can really go all out. Bring your Ipad, laptop, or TV screens. Decorate with eye-catching banners and displays. Bring your brochures, applications and forms.
Stay in touch.
Meeting up once, and passing off a business card, doesn’t mean that it’s over. Send a thank you note expressing how wonderful it was to meet and get a chance to discuss X,Y, and Z. Don’t pitch them right away. When you follow up after the thank-you, just say, I’d like to send you more information about so and so…
Which brings me to my next point.
Spamming is a nuisance, and will almost always get you blocked and sent to the junk mail folder. Always ask in your follow up or initial e-mail if it’s alright to send them materials or a link to something.
For example: ‘I found this article relating to the X,Y, Z conversation we had. I thought you would love to read it, may I send it to you if it’s alright?’
‘I think our product or service would be an excellent fit for you and I would love to send you some more information, and stay in touch if that’s alright.’
The answer almost always will be a resounding yes.
So next time you’re feeling disgruntled or frustrated about your next marketing steps, or have questions how to get out there, remember the saying “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for” . You must meet people and build relationships. People will do business with those who are personable, friendly and charming.
Yes you can hide yourself away from the world. Be a cave man if you wish. But to be a successful entrepreneur you need more than the perfect business model and product to succeed. You need to be able to go out there, and be confident in your approach. It may seem risky for those that are shy, but remember, to be the best you have to sail out into the unmapped open ocean from time to time.
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