Friday, February 18, 2011

Building Your Business During Daily Activities

Making new contacts and word-of-mouth advertising are critical for small businesses.  Meeting someone in person and establishing a relationship is a big step in gaining trust.  Your current daily activities will build your business if you take advantage of the opportunities.

Here is a list of places you may frequent to get you thinking.
  • Bank
  • Stores, Malls
  • Schools
  • Jobs
  • Doctors, Dentists
  • Services- Salons, Spas
  • Church, bible study
  • Mom's groups, playgroups, story time
  • Parks, play grounds, kid play areas
  • Restaurants
  • Sporting Events
  • Libraries

Make a conscious decision to identify people you can begin a conversation with.  To make yourself more comfortable, plan ahead for these opportunities.
  • Create a 30 second commercial and decide what you will tell people about your business.
  • Brainstorm a list of general questions that you can prepare to ask people you meet.  You can compliment someone, ask a question, or comment on what is going on around you.
  • Keep literature pertaining to your business in your bag or car so you have something to offer people.  This could include: fliers, brochures, business cards, samples, catalogs, coupons, etc...
  • Plan your errands and activities for when you can spend time talking to people, unrushed, making them a business building opportunity.
  • Be a name collector.  Have a notebook and pen handy to gather people's contact information.  This is critical.  People will rarely call you!  Tell them when you plan to follow up with them.

You may see people regularly when attending activities with your kids or frequenting certain places and never mention your business!  Or, sometimes a stranger will approach you first, maybe with a comment or a compliment; you utter a quick response and walk off.  If someone starts a conversation with you, steer it towards your business. 

Talking to people with intention may be outside your comfort zone.  While that can be an issue for me, I have another dilemma.  People confront me regularly acknowledging my twins.  Repetitive questions or really stupid/rude questions are common and frustrating.  I find myself avoiding eye contact just to get in and out of the store without a big commotion.  Sometimes my solution is to make late night quick trips looking less than stellar.  I'm missing out on so many opportunities! 

You may give yourself a number of excuses to pass by opportunities: you are in a hurry, embarrassed about your appearance, in a bad mood, too scared, or your family is with you.  Decide before you leave the house to make at least one new contact that day.  Be prepared with your polished look, a 30 second commercial, prepared questions, and something to give your contact.  You'll feel ready to go and less nervous.  Find someone and start talking!