By Cheryl Alderman
Clients are often asking me about low cost ways to gain business exposure and reach more people. Sole traders and start-ups usually have minimal cashflow, but need to get their business name out there and raise awareness of the products/services they offer.
I always tell them the same thing. YOU are your own best marketing tool.
When business owners talk about what they do and why they do it, their faces light up. The passion shows, and it’s contagious. I’m not talking about sales pitches or catch phrases, I’m talking about genuine conversations about how they actually do what they do, what it gives to their clients, and how it makes them feel. You can’t buy that.
Getting yourself out and about amongst different groups of people is the best start to any business. Whether it’s a formal networking group, a local council chamber meeting, or an educational workshop, go where people don’t already know you. Particularly if they are located in the stomping ground of your target audience, or businesses with a similar client demographic.
Networking simply means a group of people gathered together and having conversations. Often it is disguised as an ordinary occurrence that we haven’t thought of in that way previously. Maybe say yes to that school parents’ barbeque that you weren’t planning to attend, or the free property seminar, charity lunch or Tupperware party…look for opportunities to get in the same space as people you don’t know yet and start conversations.
Once you are there, don’t sell! Just get in the room, have discussions, meet people, ask questions. Be natural, be genuine and people will talk to you. If you are a bit shy, look for individuals to connect with, rather than groups. Be sure to listen as much as you speak, ask questions and show interest in what they are saying. Eventually you will get to chat about what you do, in a comfortable way. Keep it light and take care not to pitch or sell. When people connect with your passion and authenticity, they will remember you and your business.
Later, if conversation is flowing, ask if they have a business card. Odds are they will ask for yours in return. (so much nicer than asking them to take it). Suggest connecting on LinkedIn or following each other on social media platforms to stay in touch.
Set yourself a target. Two or three networking environments per month to start with. You will be amazed how quickly your connections grow and suddenly lots of people know your business exists. Not only that, but hopefully they have connected with you as an individual, and that’s what will lead them to refer business to you.
Looking for somewhere to start?
Why not come along to the Building Business Group in Chatswood. We are a great bunch of local business owners who meet fortnightly and you can practice on us. Be sure to seek me out and say hello! Simply book a visit with us via the button below. Your first visit is free.
Social4U is a local business, offering social media management for small business owners, sole traders and professionals, on the major platforms; LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Other services include training workshops, strategy sessions and some graphic design. With her team of vibrant millennials focused on client success, Cheryl is a passionate trainer and advocate of social media and it’s benefits as a low cost PR tool for businesses, business owners and career focused professionals.
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I have been a member of the BBG for two years now and during that time I have received many referrals resulting in excess of $1 million of worth of business for our Construction Company, Acquisition Team and Project Managers.
As a relatively new member to BBG I have already had sales from 7 people in the group. I have referred business to 6 other people, 2 of these being for ongoing and regular use. Plus I've also been able to refer a number of these businesses to my friends and family.
I joined BBG only 4 months ago. In that time I have received 1 new property management and 4 referrals directly from joining the group. The owner of the new property I manage has given me public testimonials leading to new referrals.
From the first week I joined I received a new client and receive new clients on a regular basis.