It is May 2012 and the UK is buzzing with anticipation about the Olympics. The excitement has been building for the last couple of years as officials, consultants, and contractors have been working together to achieve a common goal – The 2012 London Olympics! All of this effort is creating the expectation that this world class event will pull the nation together, entertain the world and generate income for many.
Starting a business carries with it a similar buzz – not quite as big or sensational as a national event like the Olympic Games but none the less very important to the person or people starting out to fulfil a dream.
It can be quite a daunting prospect because although you are a professional and you fulfil your role as an Architect or Land Surveyor very well there is a word which will keep cropping up in the back of your mind which in the past you have not had to do – MARKETING your own business!
I was asked this question by someone on Twitter…
@ConstructionMM Hi there John, I’m setting up a land survey firm (just myself to begin). What’s one bit of free marketing advice u could give?
My first reaction to that question was, “Do it!”
Find out how and then get on with it. While working in Cape Town in 1988 my business would be labelled B2C. The key question then, how was I going to make people aware that I provided a very good service? I had no real budget for marketing, social media as it is today was non-existent and yet I needed to come up with a solution. Well, I had some basic leaflets printed and I walked around the neighbourhood putting them through letter boxes. Simple yet slightly unnerving. Would I get a return? What about my competitors? How could I do the work and market my own business at the same time? It paid dividends and work came in and I started to gain regular jobs from customers as well as referrals. It is a process.
TIP: You have to put the hard work in to generate the rewards.
It may well be that you are very good at what you do (career, occupation) but not so hot on other aspects of running a business like – marketing, which is what I do best. It is for you that I have decided to write this post and offer some tips to kick start your marketing.
1. Do it. By far the biggest hurdle. Stop talking about it and get on and do it. Procrastination is our enemy!
2. Make a list of people or companies that you know or have worked with in the past and keep a simple database. Names, addresses, emails, websites, notes, date of call and recall. I grade my leads because I am not going to get on with everyone.
3. Research your list on the Internet. Glean information from their website. Refer to it in your conversation if necessary.
4. Call them. Try and make 2 calls each morning. Remember, it is all about people. Be real, find out how they procure your type of service, ask if you can send them some details about your business. If they rebuff you or you sense a ‘no’ then thank them for their time and close the conversation. Move on.
5. Final question before you put down the phone. “When is the best time to give you another call?” They will usually be honest and give you a time scale.
6. Reflect on the calls made. At the end of week one you will have 10 contacts on your database. At the end of the month 40 new contacts.
Marketing Is A Relational Process
Marketing is a ‘relational process’ and as you build your contact list you will find that this routine is both necessary and helpful. Call existing customers to find out how they are and don’t be afraid to arrange to meet up occasionally. You will be the best person to sell your business so a ‘face to face’ meeting is the best way forward.
“Don’t try hard sell with people. Talk with them as you would anyone else. Be friendly, courteous and helpful. Remember, you are in business for them first and yourself second.”
Olympians train for months prior to an event in order to be in good shape. Watching a well prepared athlete is magic and the crowd appreciates them. There are businesses in your area looking for your services – you just need to let them know.
What is your biggest marketing challenge? Let me know, I am here to help.
Email, call or tweet me and I will try and help you find a way forward.
See you soon…