Advertising is expensive, but networking is nearly free. This year, take the pledge to let EVERYONE know about your business. It’s not hard to do and it’s not sales-y. After all, your business is an important part of who you are.
My sister used to be in a consulting group consisting of several partners. One day, she was talking with one of her partners, and the woman said “You know what, the funniest thing happened to me today. A lady called me about our company doing some work for her. Turns out I’ve known her for years – our kids play soccer together. I never knew her business, and she never knew mine!”
Not good! If you talk to the same lady at soccer practice for years, why the heck wouldn’t you ask her about her business and tell her about yours? You must. Here are some tips for getting the word out in everyday, social, networking situations.
First off, you don’t need to bray your audio business card in a person’s face. It’s always polite to ask, “Do you work?” or “What do you do during the day?” Of course, a lot of women stay home with their kids or otherwise don’t work – and more and more men, too. So ask a general question – don’t ask “What sort of work do you do?” unless you want to receive a cold look and a frosty “I raise my children” from women who resent your presumption that everybody works outside the home.
So, ask. And listen. Wait for the standard, reciprocal question, “And what about you?” Then, speak. “I have an advertising specialties firm – you know, flashlights and pens and teeshirts and all kinds of great stuff with my clients’ logos on them.” That should be a conversation-starter! If it’s not – if you’ve shared your business message and gotten nothing in return – you can ask another question. Even people who don’t work outside of their homes can help spread your business message. After all, they’re out in the world, interacting with all kinds of folks, including their spouse or partner, their neighbors, their friends…..
Never miss an opportunity to gently, politely, non-obnoxiously let people know what you do for a living. Here are a list of ten groups of people (most of them should be relevant for everyone!) who should know what your company does:
1) Parents AND teachers AND administrators at your children’s school
2) People at your church
3) People at your gym
4) Your neighbors
5) Your parents’ friends
6) The parents of your children’s friends, piano-lesson-mates, fellow soccer-players, etc.
7) Shopkeepers you have regular contact with
8) Your hairstylist
9) Your service providers: insurance agent, tax preparer, landscaper: all of ’em!
10) ALL of your girlfriends and ALL of their friends!
Your business is part of you. You have ups and downs and stories to tell and funny anecdotes and lots of great wisdom to share. Don’t feel that those great stories and tips aren’t relevant to the social side of your life.