As mentioned in the previous article, there are advantages and disadvantages to pitching your small business: on one hand, this is not a one-time, 12 minute presentation that is soon over; a small business owner must be prepared at all times to present because your potential clients are typically locals like
As mentioned in the previous article, there are advantages and disadvantages to pitching your small business: on one hand, this is not a one-time, 12 minute presentation that is soon over; a small business owner must be prepared at all times to present because your potential clients are typically locals like yourself, and that proximity means that you will likely see them in the neighborhood. On the other hand, having access to your prospective customers locally is a major convenience. Let’s look at some other important aspects of small-business pitching.
If you are not a “people person,” then I doubt there is much I can say to help you in this area, but being a reflection of your small business is critical, nevertheless. Living and working in a community means that you, as a person, will be inextricably tied to your business – you are a reflection of it, and it of you. In a community, many people will know who you are and so you should remember that you are always representing your business, whether you are working or not. Be open and interactive with the community as much as you can, because that is where business connections are made for small business owners.
Know Your Potential Client
Another advantage to pitching your small business locally is that you have the opportunity to learn a great deal about potential clients. Does Bob across the street drive a Prius or a Corvette? Does he dress formally or casually? Does he prefer rock-climbing over television? There are many observations one can make that can lead to figuring out what someone’s values, priorities, and goals are, which can inform how to approach them with a business offer down the road.
Save the Hard Sell
Sales pressure is a last resort move, an act of desperation. If someone on the street is selling trinkets, it is likely they only have a few seconds to pitch their wares and will probably never see that person again – this leads to a hard sell approach. As a small business owner in a community, however, sales pressure is the last thing you want to do. People do not like being pressured and you are likely to alienate people you will probably see again. This is not a reputation that one wants to establish, and since you can usually afford to make your pitch over time, there is no hurry. Curry favor with potential clients, and when the time is right, perhaps mention that you can offer them a special deal if they are interested.
Spreading Your Brand
Also mentioned in the previous article was the importance of promoting your small business brand. Printed materials with one’s small business logo on them are particularly influential in your surrounding community because of the proximity to the actual business. Cross-promotion is a valuable tool in the corporate world, and it can be equally important for a small business brand, particularly when you are dealing with other small businesses: All things being equal, if you have a stack of brochures, flyers, or business cards for another small business on your customer counter, and they do the same for you, both small businesses have effectively doubled their exposure. In this way, your small business community becomes less like many separate entities and more like a cross-promotional pool of businesses that rely on and support each other for the greater good of all.
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