Small Business Marketing for Solo-Professionals

Based on my experience, the best small business marketing is relationship focused. In other words, instead of focusing on building a media presence where people recognize your logo like Nike or the golden arches, with small business marketing for private practitioners and other solo entrepreneurs, it’s you and the way you connect with people that matters.This is tried and true advice…Many large companies also rely on individual sales people to market their products by building a relationship with their potential clients. They know the value of relationship focused marketing.To do relationship focused small business marketing you have to first identify who your potential client is and where you can find them. One of the biggest mistakes many helping professionals and small business owners make is thinking everyone is their potential client.If you’re having difficulty narrowing down your target market, think about the types of people who definitely would not be interested in your service or product… and then who’s left? Out of those people…

Who has the money to pay?
Who has the most need?
Who can you most easily get your message to?
Who would you most like to work with?Once you’ve identified who your best possible clients might be, make a plan to build a relationship with them. You could go where they hang out or meet and get to know them. You could write articles in a publication they read and invite them to join your e-newsletter list. You could create a Facebook page about a topic that is of interest to them and post daily.As you and your potential clients get to know each other, let them know what you can do for them. If these people actually have a need and they know you and like you, the likelihood of them buying from you or using your service is much greater than if they don’t know you.

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Conversations With CEOs – Why Business Savvy Counts

“But I know my profession inside out,” says my next door neighbour. “I don’t understand why this particular contract eluded us.”

Most of us can checkmark the long list of reasons why clients do business with us. Besides establishing rapport and long-term relationships, providing excellent quality of service and technical accuracy, often there is one important criteria that hasn’t been given consideration. This is most true when dealing with senior executives. Decision makers gravitate to professional experts they trust to understand their business and the particular industry issues that can make or break their success.

They appreciate that you are an expert tax advisor for example, and wouldn’t see you if you weren’t. However, they are most interested in how you can help them navigate industy issues inside and outside of what you do as a professional. What do you actually know about business and particularly theirs? How conversant are you? Can they introduce you to their investors? Their Chairman of the Board?

Now you ask, “How can I keep up with all the nuances related to a multitude of industries when I can barely keep up with all the ongoing changes related to my own profession and staying at the top of my game?”

Here’s a few suggestions:

I. Identify the industries your top 20 clients and top 10 prospective clients come from?

II. Start with prioritizing a few industries to learn more about based on who you do profitable business with now.

III. Keep files of newspaper and magazine articles, industry journals and anything else you can find that’s pertinent for easy reference as required. Read them, think about them, make connections to your services.

IV. Ask clients about their industry issues. What level of knowledge would distinguish you from a competitive service provider and why is that important to them?

V. Finally, as you learn about the top issues currently affecting your clients, explore your expertise can help turn issues into opportunities rather than threats. Quantify how your services can minimize risks and make a difference in the achievement of the client’s objectives.

VI. File your stories, either your own or those that you hear about. For example, if you have a client who was able to retain one staff member that saved them $200,000. in recruitment and training costs, not to mention preventing loss of knowledge and clients, as a result of your consulting or coaching services, then be sure you find a way to save that story. Get a testimonial or at least be able to talk about the bottom line results that your client achieved as a result of working with you, Business Savvy Professional Extraordinaire!

VII. Have fun – part of lifelong learning is getting outside of our own boxes and jumping into other’s now and then to truly empathize and problem solve with clients.