I heard an Australian speaker Winston Marsh tell a group of insurance agents many years ago to 'be a better marketer of what you do, than a doer of what you do.' He went on to explain that you can be the best in your business best agent, best accountant, best travel broker, but if no one knows about you what good is it.
I heard it at the right time when I was starting a business and took his message to heart. It was business changing because of the success that followed,
While I don't subscribe to being a better marketer than practitioner of your chosen profession, there is no doubt that in this land of small businesses, most could be more successful by simply being better at promoting their businesses.
Here are seven suggestions.
1. Keep a database and communicate, communicate, communicate
My number one philosophy is to never let anyone go. By that I mean any of your clients or prospects. With all the work you do to create great customer service, marketing, advertising (if any) why waste the money and time and not keep a database to bring business back or keep the lines of communication open until they are ready to return or refer? A database can be your number one business asset well next to your hands and elbows of course.
Communicate via email newsletters or have an online blog that will resonate with your customer's problems. If you have a database, you CAN event market.
2. Event market
If it fits with your business, don't let special gift giving occasions (of you or your services) go past without using them to bring in new business. Make beautiful gift vouchers and promote them like crazy for Mother's Day, Secretary Day, Father's Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas, thank you's....
3. Create everyday referrers
A very clever strategy used by Kate Bailey a massage therapist when she moved to Katikati and rented space at the Katikati medical centre was to offer all the nurses and medical staff a free massage, then keeping the connection with staff discounts. It was a great investment simply of her time to create believers in what she does as well as enthusiastic referrers.
4. Market to potential natural referrers
As in point three, look first to see if you can get more referrers from business to business points. Kate would go to the local general medicine community in her area. If you are a mortgage broker and your town has four real estate offices and you only are getting referrals from one go visit the other three offices. Bring in morning tea when they have a meeting and ask for five minutes to speak. When you do it shouldn't be about you (they won't care) focus on how you can help them make more sales. This they'll listen to with interest. It's the same for the trades. Look for other synergetic local businesses too.
5. Forget social media for the most part
With your limited time, energy and marketing money the area that will provide the absolute worst return on investment for you (in terms of revenue generation) is Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the most part. Conversations do not equal dollars. LinkedIn is great for putting your professional profile up (like a CV) and connecting with other business people.
6. Ask for referrals
When you're working with a client, don't neglect to ask if they have any friends, colleagues or relatives that would benefit from working with you. Then give them a voucher to give to them or ask for their contact details. Make the word of mouth concrete.
7. Set the next appointment before they walk out the door
They might be worried they'll have to change times, but let them know it's okay, you're flexible. Even if it's for a simple check-up in six months' time. t's better to have that commitment, don't you think?
In closing, may I just shorten those fifteen words to eight in hope it will help change your business?
Be a better marketer of what you do.