Years ago I attended a Realtor’s convention where one of the booth themes was “Don’t be a Secret Agent.” The whole idea was that when you’re in sales you’d better let everyone in your sphere of influence (and beyond) know, or they’ll use someone else and you’ll have hurt feelings and an empty bank account.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how that applies to each and every business in the universe. And the fact that there’s more to it than that.
People may know about you, even want to do business with you, but if they can’t find you easily, they’ll go elsewhere.
You have to make yourself “Easy to Get.”
Just the other day I needed to find an acquaintance that has a small side business. I knew the name of the business, but it wasn’t listed in the phone book. I knew her first name… no help there. Finally her last name popped into my head and then I only had to remember her husband’s name to find them in the phone book. I persisted because I knew she was the only person nearby who could provide what I wanted. But if there had been someone else in the Yellow Pages…
You get the idea.
So what can you do? First of all, if you have a local service business, hand out your cards all the time. Never assume that since you gave them out once, people still have them. They probably don’t. Or if they do have one, they won’t remember where they put it when they need you. Give your cards to friends and ask them to pass them along. Give them to every new person you meet. Post them on the bulletin board along with the others at the local café. If you leave a great tip after dinner, leave your card with it. When you pay a bill with a local merchant, include your card.
When you do a mailing to prospective customers, include your card. They might not keep the whole letter, but the business card might go into their card file. At the same time, make darn sure that letter has all your contact information on every page. That includes your phone, fax, e-mail, and mailing address. If you use your cell phone often, include that too.
The same goes for e-mail. Never assume that everyone wants to communicate electronically. Add a signature to all of your email that shows what you do, along with your phone numbers and your postal mailing address, as well as your return email address.
Then there are print ads. Every once in a while I see a newspaper ad that was a complete waste of money. The ad might have gotten my attention, but they forgot the address of the business and/or the contact information.
In short, make it easy for anyone to find you … no matter which method they prefer.
Never hide from people who want to give you money.