Host a networking event to promote your business
It’s time to announce your business to the world and in doing so you need to invite people into your shop to see exactly what you do. Plan on giving demonstrations or presentations of how your firm can work. Make this a short event of no longer than a couple of hours (presentation should be no more than 15 minutes with time for questions). You’ll also want to be sure to collect business cards to follow up. I also recommend having a drawing to give away certain affordable prizes as a way of enticing attendees. This can be a simple event from wine and cheese to something more sophisticated. It’s up to you to decide what kind of event you’d like to put on. What kind of image do you want to present?
When I started my networking group, Something to Share business Resource Group, I held a Launch Party at Bluepointe Restaurant to promote it. Because I knew the manager/owner at the restaurant, I was able to get a great discount on 5 different appetizers for 50+ people, didn´t have to worry about room rental (he gave it to me for free) and the bar made their money on the drinks, which is how most make their money anyway. Because I had it during happy hour at a financial district locale, I was guaranteed business people to network with even though they weren´t on the guest list. Plus the manager was happy because I brought in new customers to his establishment who were new to his club. The point is to promote your business in a relaxed (party) atmosphere but to do it cost effectively. Once you´ve gathered contact information from prospects, you can then incorporate them into your lead flow system and turn them into customers.
Handouts in your immediate neighborhood. Regardless of where you live, there are people who pass right by your place of business. One way to get them to come inside or call for an appointment is to hand out discount coupons to passers by. I think 2-3 hours per week is a sufficient amount of time to hand out at least 50-100 pieces.
Post on www.Craigslist.org and other free on line postings
Check on www.craigslist.com for prospects looking for services. While most of us use Craigslist to post a free ad, many of us forget to mine the ads listed for prospects looking for your services. This makes these leads warm instead of cold. And yes, while many of the postings request not be contacted by companies, many of them don´t mind at all. Why? Think about it. If you´re looking for a telemarketer and have posted an ad for over a month without much luck and you receive info on an affordable alternative, would you toss the info? I thought so. I´ve heard from many people that they post and never get a response but here´s why. Consistency has to play a role in generating business. You can´t post a few times and expect to generate tons of leads. You have to post on a regular (weekly) basis to get results.
Advertise in as many publications and websites as your budget will allow. Your local Business Journal is an excellent resource for reaching your target audience. Check your local paper’s ad department for rates.
Contact http://www.comcast.com/ 415-863-8500 to lease air time for a commercial about your event/company
This tip can get a bit pricey but trust me it does work. If you´ve ever thought of advertising and have Comcast Cable in your area, it´s worth the expense to do a series of 30 second spots on television. The great thing is that Comcast has a Small Business Division which means advertising rates are lower (they can range from a few hundred to a few thousand) and spots on the Food Network are more affordable. If you don´t have Comcast in your area check your local cable company to see if they offer advertising for small businesses.
Create a workshop to promote your business
Ever thought of teaching? Do you have information to share with other busy professionals? Perhaps it´s time to create a workshop to share your particular expertise with other business people. This is particularly valuable if you can offer advice to new or potential business owners. Even if your firm hasn´t been open long.. Keep in mind that everyone needs information and if you have a better, faster, more cost effective way to make a prospect´s life easier, then your services become even more valuable. It´s also a great way to bring in extra income. First, charge for the workshop itself. I charge $75.00 per person at Fort Mason Center for a 2 hour class (maximum 10 people) and $175.00 for an in-house coaching session minimum, 10 hours (over several weeks). That´s between $750- $1750.00 for a few hours of work. Secondly, if you can cross sell other services like books, newsletters, and other workshops it can bring in other revenue as well. Lastly, if you offer discounts on your other services for attendees of your workshop, it makes the workshop cost more attractive to the prospect. Note: one special feature I offer workshop attendees is a discount coupon for a subscription to San Francisco Business Times Newspaper offering even more value to my workshops.
Close that deal for God´s sake!!!
Sometimes a prospect needs that extra push to make a commitment to use your services. It can be as simple as asking a question. "What would it take to obtain your business"? Or stating an obvious fact. "I´m sensing some hesitation in making a commitment to use my services, is there any particular reason?" Getting the prospect to commit is about making sure that your services are A). Needed and B) a priority. Again keep in mind that their reasons can range from lack of money to your services not being a matter of importance to them right now. If you can determine the reasons behind their ambivalence, it will make it easier to close them. If you really want to close a prospect that´s been on the fence for awhile you can do two things. You can A).do a classic "take away´. This is simply taking away the opportunity to work with you (i.e. "I get the sense that this service might not be right for you at this time. Perhaps it might be best to call me when you´re ready". ) Be prepared to walk away from the bargaining table with no regrets. Your other option is B) you can also offer to do a "test run" of your services before determining if a long term contract is applicable. Whichever you choose, make sure that you don´t spend a great deal of time on a prospect that doesn´t deserve your time. Move on because there´s lots of business out there.
There you have it. A step by step guide to generating more business in less than 90 days.