How Can I Make It Happen? (Ask “How” Three Times) Part 6 of “Get Curious About Your Business”
Strategies set your direction, values, culture and actions that will make your dream business a reality. You can’t just “wing it.” You need to decide how you will nurture and cultivate the reality that you desire. You need to ask yourself “How?” three times.
1. How can I capitalize on the opportunities that exist today and how can I turn threats into opportunities? When you read the trade publications and the national news, can you identify places where you can position yourself to create opportunity? When you read about declining newspaper readership, the inability of advertisers to reach key demographic groups, do you think about how that means advertisers have more money to spend with you?
While many distributors were crying into their beers about the Pharma guidelines that cut spending by pharmaceutical companies on promotional products, a savvy client of mine was calling up local businesses that want to do business with doctors' offices, health care clinics and other health service providers, and offering them advertising space that the drug companies were no longer using. While many distributors were discussing how much of the business was going to move to the Internet, other distributors were investing in technology and studying ways to more some of their business over to the Web.
2. How will I promote and sell to my customers? What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. How are you going to reach the customers with whom you want to work? Have you considered joining an association in an industry group that you want to target? Do you enjoy speaking? You could offer to speak to industry and community groups, and position yourself as a local expert. Is it time to create a formal referral program? Why not create a conscious and concerted effort to generate positive word of mouth? Are your target customers younger? Have you considered learning how to use Pinterest? You could offer a workshop around one of your specialties, such as how to host a golf outing, generate trade show traffic, or come up with creative direct mail. And speaking of creative direct mail—are you promoting your business through creative uses of promotional products in direct mail, in trade show traffic building, through event marketing? Position yourself as a marketing guru by being a marketing guru—for your own business!
3. How will I make this personal? In order to sell something to someone, you need to create a relationship. Seth Godin said it best. “Turn strangers into friends. Turn friends into customers. And then do the most important job: Turn your customers into salespeople." You need to make an emotional connection. In every interaction you must be authentic, real, transparent and you must really care. When you truly care and can demonstrate real empathy, you set a path of building trust that allows you to solve problems which, in turn, creates a partnership where you’ve taken the price out of the equation. You’re dealing with real people with real problems who are looking for someone that they can trust. Be that person.
When you can answer your “How?” questions, you have laid a path that you can follow, allowing you to build the company you want to work for and will work for you.