One of the biggest questions that small business owners have is: How can I effectively work my business name into casual conversation?
It’s understandable. No one wants to come off as a used-car salesman while they are chatting with a potential friend. It can be uncomfortable and feel awkward, but, think of it this way: If you have a service that can help others, why not share it?
No one is going to come out and say, “Do you know a great tax guy?”; but learning how to develop the opportunities to reach that point can be pretty easy. And where are these environments and marketing moments? Everywhere.
Local vendors and restaurants: If your business is in a community, you’ve got to go out into the community to become familiar with the trends and opportunities available to your platforms. If you don’t know anyone or any business in the community, then chances are that they don’t know you either. Take a walk around your neighborhood, find a favorite lunch spot and get to know the manager and the wait staff. Give them a shout over social media and they’ll be sure to appreciate the favor and will most likely return it.
Bookstores and coffeehouses: It’s always a wise decision to work outside of the office when possible. If you can’t do that, make sure your sampling the local bookstores and coffeehouses on the weekends. Strike up a conversation in line while you’re waiting to order. Maybe you’ll start to see a familiar face and you can open with “I see you in here a lot, do you work nearby?”. However, more likely than not, someone will initially ask you that question first. Be friendly, be yourself and then be your marketer.
Volunteering: This is a great way to meet others in the community and to help other in need at the same time. In fact, in order to volunteer, you often have to list your reason, or say a bit about your background. This is a great time to write down “owner of Bette’s Bakery”. Not only will it go through the channels of the volunteer world, but it may open up a chance for you to let people try your services or goods. Maybe one day they’ll need a dozen cupcakes for a special volunteer’s birthday. They’ll run through the repertoire and remember, “Isn’t the owner of Bette’s Bakery volunteering this week?”
Dog Park: It’s incredibly rare that you won’t get into a conversation with someone while you’re at a dog park. It’s a laidback environment and there’s something about canines frolicking that just sets a friendly mood amongst a crowd. It’s a great time to get to know people in your community while giving your dog some exercise.
Always have your card on hand to give to someone. It alleviates the need to have too much “shop talk” in the conversation and it makes it easier for them to contact you. It’s also more professional.
Be pushy. Marketing moments are built on friendliness. If you’re going around attempting to start a conversation that leads into business, you’ll get a reputation that will be hard to shake.
The question “So, what do you do?” is pretty rampant in our culture. What really matters in igniting those marketing moments are just being there, out in the community and getting to know people. Find something that you enjoy and then meet the people who also enjoy that. We live in a technological world but being able to have a genuine conversation in real life will never go out of style.