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Small Business Marketing Is More Like Romance Than You Might Think: Make Them Fall in Love

Aug 17, 2007
People like to do business with people they trust. And more than that, they like to work with people that they like.

The "courtship" phase of your relationship with your prospects is critical to your small business success. So are you giving your clients the reasons they need to fall in love with what you offer?

First of all, do you know why you're the best choice or -- even better -- the only choice worth considering?

If not, it's high time you found out. Take a look at 4 or 5 competitors' websites and see how they communicate their services.

What works? What doesn't?

Do they focus on the results they achieve for their clients? Do you? Results you have achieved for other businesses can be powerful stuff.

Do they specialize in exactly the same market? Do you currently have a specialization? If not, would this help you?

If you're not a better option on paper, find ways to set yourself apart, such as choosing a market niche that is slightly different or deciding to add your own personal twist to your marketing. You might see success just by adding helpful articles and a more client-focused approach to your marketing mix.

Are your marketing materials full of powerful statements that show your prowess in your field, without being pushy? Or are you mainly sending prospects the marketing equivalent of cheesy pickup lines?

Anyone can come out with a promotion that says they offer the best-quality services in your line of work, but unless you can back it up with real proof, it can easily sound slick and untrustworthy.

Be yourself.

It's a common mistake that especially newcomers to self-employment sometimes make to try to put on airs in order to appear more successful, but frankly, this almost always backfires. For starters, you won't feel confident during the exchange, which means that your personal passion will not shine through. And having the passion to help your clients goes a long way toward building trust.

What's more, you might promise more than you can deliver -- and the very best way to make clients unhappy is to do just that. Instead, promise excellence and then deliver even more than you promised!

And remember, even if you're not confident about your marketing, you are unique. No one else can offer exactly what you can. Use your current marketing techniques to express your personality, your business's brand, to let people get to know you.

Listen more, talk less.

Have you ever spent time with someone who really listened to you? Talk about an amazing way to make you feel special.

More than one love relationship has been ignited by such simple means -- and the same tactics work for your prospects, if you are truly sincere about wanting to hear about your prospects' concerns. I know that every time I open my ears and shut my mouth, I learn more about my clients' needs and am able to better help them in the future.

Besides, there are plenty of "experts" out there who can talk all day and all night about what they know and what a great a "catch" they are (in the business sense and otherwise!). But who likes to deal with talking heads who are full of themselves? That's not attractive in the slightest.

The last bit of wisdom that I might offer is to take a step back and allow your relationship with your prospects to progress at their pace. You should stay in touch while the decision is being made, but don't force the issue.

As I said, marketing your small business is a little like dating. If you keep the pressure off, share your strengths and set yourself apart, your relationship with your clients will be founded on trust, respect and -- yes -- you'll find that your clients actually like working with you very much.
About the Author
Are you a coach, consultant or other solo service professional who's struggling to grow your business? Find out how you can attract more clients more easily with Jennifer McCay's FREE audio course and FREE weekly marketing lessons at http://AvenueEast.com
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