It’s 2020 - Technology Dominates Our Mindset for Marketing
Imagine you decide one day you want to open your own business. You have this amazing idea and have laid out all the plans. It doesn’t matter what kind of business it is for the point I’m about to make.
You research how to market through social media, start a business page, pay for Facebook ads, and create an Instagram and Twitter accounts. You hire someone to build this amazing website for you. It goes live and you pay for Google AdWords. You think your potential for exposure is huge. But do you see the commonality to all these factors of marketing? Everything is online based. And that’s the way this world is shifting and will continue to shift. But that doesn’t mean you should put all your eggs in that basket. Your need to build a community that recognizes you for what you offer as a business owner and a fellow human.
I have a niche business that thrives online. It’s a service that requires a lot of desk work such as emailing, calls, planning and recording, to project manage the creation of a family through IVF. It’s no easy task. My business counts on the technological world to survive. But it also counts on one major other factor that keeps the business evolving – Interpersonal connections with real people in real time.
You can only grow to a certain level through mainstream advertising, and social media marketing. Finding your ideal client happens when you find ways to connect with your community, and network face to face. It also defines who you are as a business person. You create a persona and interact with people and they can establish for themselves what kind of person you are and how you operate.
In a world where social media has dominated the business industry, it lacks substance and true connections with the world. Networking is a big umbrella that encompasses many important pieces. Finding balance between setting boundaries as a business and connecting on a personal level is truly the key to becoming successful at what you do and becoming an owner who continually sets the bar higher than the rest.
Get Old School and Know how to Close Your Screen
Building relationships in business allows for a deeper understanding of what your client’s really need. Be real. If you show up for them, they will show up for you.
I’m 40 and grew up in the 80s. I feel like I still live there sometimes. It was a simpler time when the world didn’t seem so big. While I appreciate immensely the advances of the internet and computers for our sheer ability to access knowledge at our fingertips in seconds, I think we’ve gone too far the other way. We live in front of our screens and we can spend hours in one spot, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. We’ve replaced conversations with tweets. And it feels like technology is surpassing humanity sometimes.
But that is definitely not how businesses are born and thrive. It is a handy tool to have, but without those personal connections with people in person, you simply have an online business with no real person behind it.
Face to Face
When I do consultations I always do face to face video calls or in person. I NEVER do a phone call. When people question it, I say that my business is driven my personal relationships and emotional stories and I have to be able to see their face, read body language, understand their direct responses, and I can’t do that with email or a phone call. If they don’t want to do a face to face meeting, I politely tell them they aren’t the right fit for my company. Instincts tell me that in my line of business and in many service industries, if people want to hide behind their computer, they aren’t full disclosure.
I am full disclosure. I don’t care if people do video calls in their Pajamas with their hair tossed around. Just be vulnerable and come with your whole self to me, because I plan on doing the same.
People who know their business well can talk all day about what they do and how they do it. It’s called selling. You can google selling techniques. Sometimes that works for products, because potential clients want to know why they need your product. But selling a service means selling yourself and what your company is going to do for them and you can’t do that without getting in front of people and letting them know who you are. It doesn’t matter the service – you have to make people feel confident you can deliver. That comes from allowing people to see not just how you run your business, but who you are. Do not be afraid to just be real. You can touch on small moments where you relate something they say back to something you can understand in your own life. I sell my surrogacy services. It’s a unique, niche service. You can’t do anything by the book, but you can be real. I will touch on topics like my family so they know I’m a Mom and a surrogate. I find ways to introduce my experiences that relate to why I can help them build their family. I want them to feel like they are talking to an old friend and someone who is willing to protect and guide them.
I am always honest! Without honesty you have nothing. You can’t sugar coat things either. That’s hovering over being honest, but not really being transparent. I have learned that people will respect you more when you are completely upfront with them, even if it’s something they don’t want to hear. They will come to trust you and believe that you have their best interest at heart – which you should if you are being paid to help them through any service.
Don’t be Afraid to Walk Away
Know who you are and if you start to see that the potential client isn’t your desired client who will respect your boundaries, be willing to walk away. I can do 10-15 consultations a week with potential clients. For various reasons I only accept 3-4 of them. One of the reasons is that I run a specific program and I have a desired clientele I’m looking for in my program. If you think a client is going to disrespect the terms of your service or aren’t someone you believe you can help, the ethical thing is to not take their money and to decline their application.
Be the Face of your Business
Successful businesses are created by people. Once you are established as the face of the business and are the one that people gravitate towards and want, you can’t just hide in the shadows and watch the business grow. You have to be the face – unless you have someone like yourself who can slide right into the same method and madness as you have already projected. A business is successful when you stand up and get behind it. I do my own consultations – always. I want to be the first person potential clients see. When they see your passion for what you do, they get behind it. It helps them connect. And I don’t disappear when they sign up. I always let clients know that they can come to me with anything they need. This is especially important in the service industry, where people depend on you to help them.
They’ve hired you for a reason. If you have won them over, don’t leave them stranded after the fact to someone who doesn’t resonate with them.
I’ve worked with professionals who sell their services to people, but they also sell themselves and what they can do for those people. After a client signs up, the owner suddenly disappears, communication goes sideways, and the client begins to feel manipulated. This seriously effects business in the future. People talk. Don’t be that owner who talks a good talk but doesn’t stand behind your company.
Find the Clients that Don’t know you Exist
Networking allows you to share your story and find clients that aren’t even looking for you. With surrogacy, the majority of my clients come from referrals, word of mouth, and networking. I create environments to spread the word about who I am and what I do. Not just about the service I provide, but the person I am.
Exude the qualities that you want to have in your clients – kindness, gratitude, and mutual respect.