Common bonds and business growth

common bondsI met a prospective new client last week and we found out we had a lot in common in our personal lives. That can make a deeper connection with a client, better than simply making a sales pitch. And, she hired me on the spot. That does not always happen.

Finding a niche market might for your business could incorporate discovering new business associates with common interests. As an entrepreneur, you should always think about any social occasion as a networking occasion. Without being “salesy” or pushy about it, you can talk about what your business does with people anywhere at any time. You might find new avenues to marketing your business.

Certainly, there are times when you walk in the door, present your information and the client will either hire you or not. But when making a deeper connection with the person, you feel more like friends and less like business associates.

According to some business coaches, you need to make the prospective client know and like you before they will hire you or buy your products. Finding common ground is a great way to persuade them that you are worth hiring.

Personally, I prefer to work with clients whom I like as people. It is only natural to feel that way. I’m an animal lover, other animal lovers make good clients for me because there is an understanding that goes beneath the surface of the business relationship.

Does that mean you should never work with individuals or companies that share nothing with you? Of course not, common ground just makes the relationship easier.

I have many clients whom I have never met. We communicate solely through email and I know nothing about their personal lives. I get along with them just fine, however we do not share a deep connection. If they found a better deal, they would probably drop me in a heartbeat. Not so for people with whom I have a more personal connection.

Get to know a little bit more about your prospective clients and you just might end up with more business.

Ice hockey and social media

IMG_1372My nephew Jake plays ice hockey for the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) and because it is a club team, they do not have good attendance or recognition for their efforts. Don’t get me wrong, they play as hard as any hockey players. The games are certainly not televised and the webcasts are not the greatest. They have a website and Facebook page and at one time there was a Twitter page, but it did not have a lot of activity.

I believe the wifi is not very strong at the arena. Using a webcam for a wide shot of an entire ice rink is not the best way to shoot a sporting event. But, they use social media to their advantage with the home games webcast from the arena. They basically use a laptop webcam and broadcast on LiveStream, a website that shows webcasts.

Isn’t that a great idea? Why not broadcast your events? Grow your business through webinars.

If you use Google+, you can create a hangout where up to ten people can have a live video conference call and millions more can watch. And it’s all FREE! What if you gave a webinar about your business and had people from all over the world watch, some can ask questions (the ones who are on the conference call). No fancy equipment is necessary. Really, all you need is a laptop with a camera and an internet connection. If you have headphones with a microphone you can get fairly good sound.

Plop a vase of flowers on a desk to gussy it up a bit, and aim the webcam at your face – you’re ready to go! Maybe put a few notes in front of you, but you know about your business. You don’t really need a lot written materials, just enough to keep you on topic – and you don’t want to read from a script.

If you announce and promote the event on your website, blog, email and through social media, put it in your newsletter or ezine – any way you want, you will get results. Encourage people to send questions in advance so that you have time to prepare great answers.

Be sure to offer this complimentary webcast to your ideal clients. Give them good information, stuff they can use. Encourage them to hire you at the end of the talk.

As you are prepare for your webinar, take a break now and then and watch or listen to a Terps ice hockey game!

Microblogging with Twitter

twitter-for-microbloggingWant to have more influence on Twitter? A great way to have an impact on other users is to keep posting. Use keywords in your microblog just like on your website.

Start by getting organized. Make sure you send your tweets multiple times every day. By sending unique tweets, you avoid being boring and redundant. There is someone I followed on Twitter who sent the exact same message every day, countless times each day. I would see it over and over. I don’t spend that much time using Twitter. While sending the same message a couple times a day might be effective, I think this person goes way overboard. Maybe it works for him, but I had to drop him because it felt too spammy for my liking.

If you are a jeweler, for example, you might start off the day talking about the price of gold or silver. Later in the day, mention that you have watches on sale. There should be a lot of content on your page, so there is always something to tweet. Almost always include a link to your site, blog or Facebook page to get people to read the whole story. The tweet is just a snippet, that’s why it is called a microblog.

If the web address is too long, it takes away from the characters you need for your message. The remedy is a site that will create a shorter link for you, like tinyurl.com. Tinyurl.com even allows you to customize the link.

If you don’t want to send people to your web page, try adding a photo and get attention with that. When using photos, post them on Pinterest or Instagram, and add hashtag keywords in your description. Always let people know who you are and what your message is.

Always try to get at least one or two keywords into your tweet. Just like on your website or blog, keywords are truly key. Everyone wants people to click the link in their tweet. In order to do that, you need to attract people with keywords that explain what your business does. Your message, including keywords, should be a part of everything you do and everything you say – this is your brand.

Make your tweets interesting and thought provoking. Then get to work. Tweet early and tweet often.