In the last week, a customer left, no news there, but I have donated to a fundraiser they did and do sort of know them. Yesterday, another customer came in with a gift for me and one of our team. Actually very tasty olive oil. The first one checks more “boxes” that most companies look for and spent at least twice as much with us. The second spends half the amount of money and doesn’t “fit” common profiles of what a company wants. Below was written May 2014 and has only been updated thanks to Grammarly.
Really, everything a company or a salesperson does seems to be geared towards a sale. So many places online pitch social media success or “how to drive business with social…” Why must everything be about growing your business? How about strengthening the business? How about increasing profits? How about simply using your strengths? Use social to do all the things that your massive competitors cannot do? How about realizing that before you spend money to advertise on social or run a contest or promote a post that there are a dozen or so free things that you can do that many of your larger counterparts cannot do.
So I come at this from the side of a developing insurance brokerage. We tend to work with a pretty select clientele. There is no advertising done. So some thoughts;
- Before you spend any money, take some time and effort to get to know the people you already have in place. Seriously, before you head out and get more customers or spend money solidify what you have in place. Have you LinkedIn with everyone? Have you shared a Facebook Page with them? Looked for them on Twitter?
- How about recommendations? Both LinkedIn and Facebook provide excellent opportunities for all these people you already know to say(type) nice things about you. Just ask. Start with the ones you think you know best. While you are at it go and recommend the places you know and the people you have worked with.
- How about charity? In my world, I doubt Geico will ever donate to a local charity and seriously why would your business simply donate to any charity or take out an advertisement in some sort of program just for the heck of it. Support those that support you.
- We know large companies are very good at spamming. In fairness, small companies can be as well. Try and ignore the urge. Seriously, double down on your efforts to keep up with existing customers.
- Do the things they do not or cannot; share the posts your friends and customers put up.
- Can your large counterparts refer their own customers to each other? Yes, Do they? NO, You can do this. Connect the web of people you have around you and try and strengthen the weak ties.
- Instead of talking about rates be a resource. Help make logical decisions, Make an effort to bring them business instead of just taking their money
- Cracks me up when I see some sort of “canned” blog article appear on various sites. I am also thoroughly amused by useless articles on Yahoo Finance and other sites. Its like they have ten or so articles and simply make an effort to put out useless tips once a week.
Just embrace the fact that you are small and enjoy the heck out of it. Why wouldn’t you?