So you started a new company and thought they’d come running but they didn’t? This is the toughest part of business according to a lot of readers who completed the EntrepreneurMom’s Tell Me About your Home Business survey. If you haven’t taken it, you still can click this link. There is one question where you should be able to put more than one answer but I configured it wrong so it doesn’t let you, so please add responses in the ‘other’ category).
Without the clients and customers, we have no business, right? And no income.
But a lot of us feel shy, or are introverts, or feel that sales is slimy and pushy. No one likes a pushy salesperson, right? A lot of us aren’t sure how to get more clients. But sales & marketing is so important we need to kick the negative thinking to the curb!
Listen to this (because it’s super important) and will totally change how you approach potential clients and customer. FOREVER.
If you have a service or create a product, you have a responsibility to the world to tell people about it. Don’t be shy, or embarrassed, or coy. The only way that someone will know about your product or service is if you tell them. That’s not sales, that’s the passion you have inside coming out.
Ok, so in other words, don’t keep your light hidden a rock, shine your God-given talent for the world to see.
But how? Here’s a start:
- Open up to your existing network and increase it 10 fold: Be honest about who would really use your service or product, define them. Then ask friends, family, co-workers, former colleagues to help you to connect to THEIR network of like-minded people.
Honestly don’t be nervous about this. There ARE people who are literally sitting at home RIGHT NOW looking for your product or service and either don’t know you exist or aren’t actually aware they have a problem that can be fixed.
If I have a friend with an issue (say, looking for a Baptism outfit for the child or who are desperate for a new logo but worried about trusting someone online)…and another friend tells me that she has just started a home business and is looking for clients (maybe making children’s clothes or is in branding)…of course I would connect them. And you would too!
I’d be HAPPY to share because you’re my friend, and they’re my fiend.
(A lot of us make the mistake of asking friends and family to like our social media pages, but that’s a big no unless they are really part of your target market. BUT you can ask them to share your business on their own social media pages or to connect you to their friends who might be interested. I increased my following on Facebook by 400 people overnight –literally – because of that single technique. Be polite and send a private message one at a time – don’t spam everyone at once!)
This isn’t you asking your mom to like your Facebook business page (how awkward is that?) but seeking out the people already looking for you.
- Make a list of businesses you would love to work with and connect: This works best with service industries (such as PR, graphic design, consulting etc but later this week I’ll show how you can do this as a retailer as well). The big thing to include in your email is how you will help that business with a problem they have and what will happen if they don’t solve that problem. They aren’t interested (too much) about you, where you studied or how long you’ve been in business – they want to see the goods!
- Referrals: If you have worked with someone already, either in your home business or even before that, maybe in a corporate setting, ask for a written referral. This can be something you use on a sales page, on LinkedIn recommendation, or add to social media pages from time to time.
It is often SO hard for us moms to take credit for what we do every day but honestly there is someone (probably a whole lot of people) who would use your home business if they knew you existed. And probably a few other businesses around that do something similar to you. Stand out from the crowd and when you have done a great job – let others know!
- Network: No one can sell your products and services like you can! No one has your passion, so get into a room as much as possible and connect with others. This might mean heels and a suit and a once-a-month female entrepreneur business breakfast, or it might happen at a playdate with other moms (if moms are in your target market, like mine are!).
Can you describe how you help others (not what you DO but how you help others) in about 30 seconds? Work on that 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ so that even if you are caught off guard in a grocery store and start chatting to someone around the cereal aisle, you are still ready to network and connect!
- Social network: Let’s be honest, a lot of us moms struggle to get out of the door on a regular basis, not to mention having clean clothes, makeup applied and accessories untangled and present (or is that just me TMI!). That’s the beauty of social media! Networking on social media is more than positing on a Facebook page: set aside 30 minutes every day to go through your business page and respond to comments and also to connect to others.
It might be a mommy group like Marzenna Almendro mentions in her post Four Ways to Build a Better Home Business or connecting with someone you look up to in the industry on social media (find out how to this in my articles on Getting Started with Google+ and How LinkedIn can Boost your Home Business)
- Follow up: So what happens when you have done all of the above and not heard back from anyone? Or you got some clients and now going through a slow patch?
You keep going. Marketing yourself isn’t an overnight thing, and it’s not a seasonal activity: Experts say that marketing should honestly take up to (sit down for this) 60 percent of your time.
Yup 60. SIX-OH.
Like, we didn’t have the actual work to do, a family to raise etc. OK, so maybe we can only long to be a part of the “60 percent club” for now, but it shows how much effort it takes to get your business going.
But don’t lose heart – because there are ways around this.
If you are already selling a product (not exchanging your time for money like us in the service industries) then you are already on the right track. If you are making something and selling it, look towards a future where someone makes your goods for you.
If you are service-based look into hiring out your work (training someone up to your high standards if need be) or turning your service into a product (books, courses) so that you can help more people
Start right now, from this moment on: how can you start helping 10x more people (so if you have four clients, how can you help 40. If you have 10 how can you help 100). For more help on this I wrote a great short e-book, which you can grab right here.