Tips on cultivating personal relationships as an advertising tool for your small business.
Did you know many of your friends do not know exactly what you do to make your money? It happens more often than you'd like to think to small businesses.
“Since people like to do business with friends, it is important you help them to know what you do.”
Recognize that you need to educate your friends and acquaintances about your small business. Then they can become some of your best sources of new clients and promote you to others as well.
Turn your friends into fans
Right now you have lots of social and business networks of people who know you personally: from your clubs, recreational activities, school activities, religious affiliations, hobby groups and so on.
Your friends and acquaintances know you for the person and character you demonstrate to them in person. Your friendship is of primary importance to them. What you do for a living is secondary.
So it's up to you to tell them about how you can help when they (or others they know) need what you are selling. Your personal colleagues are valued assets to promote both you and your business.
Your goal is to become the "go to" person when your friends need your services. Instead of the "WIIFM" What's In It For Me formula, you want to get them to ask you "WCYDFM", What Can You Do For Me? In other words, "Can I turn to you for valuable advice to help me solve my problem?"
Sure, your friends may know what type of business you are in. "He has a garage, she owns a consulting service, he is a mortgage broker, she sells real estate" and so on. Sometimes, small businesses can have vague names, which cry out for further explanation.
So it can be quite productive if you simplify and clarify precisely what you do in terms your friends can understand. Tell stories. Give easy-to-understand examples.
You probably already have one or two "elevator" speeches of 10 or 30 seconds explaining what you do. Develop another version suitable for more general use.
When you tell others what you do, use your own personal style of story-telling. Take advantage of impromptu situations, and be sure to use your judgement about when to insert your message into the conversation.
Make it easy for people to talk about you with others in their own circles of friends and acquaintances. This how to use the multiplier effect: friends tell friends... who tell friends, etc.
In the never-ending quest for new customers and clients for your small business, why not take advantage of personal opportunities right there in front of you every day?
And be sure to learn about their businesses, too. It works both ways!