The Art of Schmoozing!
When a business gets started it’s pretty much like a new baby. You get much advice by a few who have been there and know it all, by a few who pity you your sleepless days and nights, and by a few who wish they could be there. But, you, the new business owner, live in your enchanted castle and every thing looks rosy, fluffly, beautiful. What’s a few sleepless nights when customers are beating a path to your door? You have read all the right books, and listened to all the tapes, and went to college, so you know what to do.
I hope so! I really do!
When my son was 12 and 13 he would not listen to advice either and would get himself in serious trouble, as we knew he would, and then would work himself out of it, to our utmost surprise! As a new business owner, you are probably a mixture of caution and optimism and you will also find yourself in serious trouble and like my son, will get yourself out it, to the surprise of everyone who knows you. There’s nothing wrong with going through experiences to learn the lessons you need to learn, however, sometimes it makes more sense to experience the situation through someone else’s life. Let them have the pain!
Marketing is one area where many small businesses try to do it all by themselves and end up in trouble and eventually figure it all out, at some considerable cost. So, this is a way to help you avoid some of that.
First off, don’t do what everyone does, specially if you are looking for a better result. I worked with a small business owner who was spending close to US$3,000.00 in newspaper advertising and was getting nothing for it. When I asked what kind of response she was getting, she responded that she didn’t know. So, why are you spending the money like that? Many small business owners behave just like that. They do things because they were sold on it by someone who wanted a commission and nothing more.
Next, measure your advertising process. If you still use newspaper advertising find out who actually responds to similar ads, what their impact is, and so on. Newspapers, as far as I’m concerned, are a thing of the past. I haven’t opened a paper in a long, long time. I believe I am not alone in this. Find out exactly what kind of reach the paper has and then spend your money accordingly.
Third, test, and then test some more. There is more than one way to reach the audience you intend to reach. Sometimes all you need is one less word or one more to make the impact you wish to make! Without testing you won’t know whether or not your customers will respond to what you are asking them to do. “Free! Today Only … Come And See!” Or “Come and Get your Very Own Free Report, Valued at $997 …Find The Top Secrets The Gurus Don’t Want You To Know!” or “Click Here for Your Very Own Free Report!.” Until you put it out there and let your customers vote you won’t know which one works best and leaving it to chance isn’t a good business marketing strategy.
Fourth, capture your visitors, find out what they want, and create a relationship with them. Any time a visitor stops by, find a way to get their contact information. Only the exception proposes to someone on a first blind date! So, why do you think your visitors will buy from you on the first visit? Get their permission to go to them on another date, –just kidding 🙂 — and finding out what would delight them to have you around, then do whatever it takes to fulfill their wishes. Dazzle them and they will reward you for a long time.
Fifth and last, let your customers educate you. Listen to them. Let their advice fall on your fertile little ears. Then, sift through all that information to respond to them based on your business goal. And, for those you can’t dazzle, tell them so! Let them free to pursue their dream so that they won’t burden you. There is nothing more energy-draining than satisfying a customer who has no interest in what you can offer.
Marketing for a small business is very much like going on a blind date in hopes of finding a partner. You have to preen yourself well at all times. You never know when you will be on display! You must continually let others know that you are available. And, you must stand out in the crowd! (Even if you have to carry your own soap box!) It’s a lot easier online as you can experiment as much as you want and often your cost will be minimal and you can change on the proverbial dime, as well, if you need to.
Without marketing though it’s like you going to an old fashioned water pump and pumping away hoping to get water out of it, forgetting that you need to prime it before you can get it to work. Once you prime it, it won’t take long before you start the water flowing strongly and when you taste of it, how sweet it tastes!
Good luck with your business endeavors.