Every business is selling something – products or services, or both.
If you believe that the product or service is all that matters, then all of the businesses that invest in clean and bright showrooms, nice furnishings, and that sort of thing are wasting their resources. Really, I can’t imagine that many would think that.
The things mentioned, like a clean and bright showroom, are meant to convey an image to the potential customers. Design details like color and open spaces is used similarly. These are background for the sale, but they obviously matter.
If these things are so obviously important, think about how you are conveying information to the customers. Does word of mouth leave the customer with enough? Is the sales person covering the concerns of the customer related to your product or service in a way that the customer can relate to and draw comfort from? Is the customer even engaging a sales person when they come to your place of business?
In a large way you are probably missing the opportunity to engage with some, or many, of your customers. Some are interested in buying, but they don’t want to get involved with businesses that don’t care about them. Some just need better information to move them to buy.
There needs to be a smattering of details about your business that lets them know your values and lets them know about the specifics of products. Let them leave with something in their hand. Something to read and contemplate over coffee the next morning. Close the sale quickly if that’s possible, but also give the customer something to learn about you and your team, something to make them feel like they’ve made the right decision to buy from you. Something that will make them come back again and again.
Some of this can be done with paper based information, but more effective will be a digital presentation either from the web, or even on a thumbdrive. Giving the customers more than expected is just plain smart. How can you use these thoughts in your own business?
I’ve become a little more fired up about this part of my business lately. I seem to go in waves. Until recent I’ve been writing in my two books that are in progress and that ought to be published yet this year. I think that I get a little burned out on any one subject after thinking about it for too long. Sometimes the subjects need to simmer in my subconscious for a while, then I’m ready to get back to them and move the story along. For that reason I need a few things going at the same time when they involve multi-week commitments of my time.
Working on this website and the ideas that I postulate here is a little different. The ideas are more succinct and the businesses involved don’t have stories that go on for hundreds of pages. So focusing on these considerations can be intense and through without wearing a hole in my mind.
I particularly like to postulate a thought and then to explore it. To meditate about the various ways that a method can be used to move the business forward in term of communications with the customer base. And better, to introduce thinking to that group of people about an improvement in their way of life or a way to think about aspirations and how those aspirations can be addressed through doing business.
Whatever is postulated for the customer to reflect upon, it brings them closer to you, and that’s what you want. That tends to close out other businesses and create a closed loop for your own business to thrive within. It’s good stuff to think about over a cup of coffee.
This is a document that I created back in 2015 to introduce a new business. Instead, we ended up moving to the Florida Panhandle area and the business didn’t happen. I still like the idea, and frankly, have incorporated much of it into my current business thinking. I’ve merely broadened out the subject matter and still intend to contact the same sorts of businesses contemplated in this document.
I am posting it here because it illustrates some of my reasoning about the promotion of a business and how images and narrative can make an idea come to life. If you were a potential customer and received this PDF document by email, perhaps from a website, or as part of a presentation on a thumb drive, how would you view it? Isn’t it better than a verbal presentation, in that it’s tangible and creates a more concrete understanding of what the sales person is trying to convey? It works hand-in-hand with that person-to-person sales effort, in my opinion. Take a look.
Business owners and managers often make the mistake of seeking an ideal marketing or advertisement plan that is unrealistic for their business because of cost or complexity.
Sometimes simple ideas, simple repetition of basic principled efforts work best.
So what foundation does your business have? Usually there are certain things about the business that are known and appreciated; dependability for example.
What do potential customers think of your business? Do they even know that you exist at the moment? Do they have a sense of what you stand for? Your principles and your intentions? What have you told them? What can they see?
What can be changed to create a better image, more visibility, and a better understanding of the positive attributes of the products and services you offer?
Think about it. Make notes and discuss the ideas with your associates. What you think is basic and well understood about your business may not register with the customers. They need to be told about it and then told again another time and in a different manner. It’s your job to make these concepts, ideas, and principles clear.
I really like using PDF files. I like them because they can be developed and reused countless times. They don’t show age or get wrinkled or dirty as sales tools. They can be updated easily and changed to reapply them to multiple product offers.
PDF files can be tacked onto emails with ease. They can be used in websites as sales tools or to make technical information available to the customers. They can contain a mountain of information, or a simple one page presentation.
There is no business that couldn’t find significant value using PDF files to tell their story and to support the business model.
Recently I have been contemplating the use of a few of my proposals and the various images that I captured and used to promote additional sales. I hesitate only because what I was promoting was slightly different from what many small business owners are selling. My business was in commercial contracting, and I specialized in decorative stone, granite, terrazzo, and ceramic tile. Our promotions were directed at large scale developers, owners agents for government agencies, and construction managers on a regional scale (multi-state).
I will try to post a couple of these and see if I can walk through the thinking and also why I think that there are lessons within those efforts that scale to smaller businesses and businesses that are vastly different then this.
It seemed important to create this post as a prequel to what’s to come. I’d like to emphasis that we should be looking at how to take ideas from these proposals, rather than over-think the particulars of that singular business model.