Whether you went to business school or not, gained a degree or didn’t, the chances are that when you started out in your business you spent a lot of time selling. Selling creates revenue and keeps your business afloat.
But sometimes the selling has to stop.
The talking has to take over. I mean the kind of talking that is essentially real communication between two or more individuals. You see, the real secret to any small business success and to effective marketing is to communicate with the person you are trying to build a commercial relationship with.
I have spent the best part of a month now talking to a potential client. He’s more than a client actually, and is becoming a partner in business. We are hopefully going to be putting together a project soon where we work to develop solutions for businesses in the local area, with innovative design and marketing at the core of things.
When I first met him, we talked about each otherâ€™s businesses and how we started, and we had a nice cup of coffee.
No elevator pitch required with real marketing
It was my first real business meeting. Minutes before, I was torn between the idea of making a serious pitch or just â€˜having a conversationâ€™. I had read a lot of content about elevator pitches and was convinced at one point that I would have to go in there and spend 15 seconds explaining my business and basically not allowing him to talk.
When I got there he was alone in his office, holding the fort because most of the staff were off sick. We started talking about our lives and our history. Heâ€™d been in business for 16 years, had really built something.
And you know what? It was ludicrously easy to discuss my work, and then, right at the end of the discussion, the money side of things.
It was a million times easier to talk money after getting to know him than it would have been at the start of the conversation, with an elevator pitch.
We spent a good hour getting to know each other, so it was easy for me to say that I’d like to be honest and talk about my rates. There was no pressure, and most importantly I thought he was relaxed and open to discussing a potential cost to his company.
I also, perhaps unconsciously, spent a long time talking about this potential clientâ€™s business objectives and hopes for the future. He was close to signing a deal with a major fashion publication company. We spoke about this for a while.
So I knew about his story, and his life, and his priorities. And this meant that an amazing thing had happened. Neither of us knew what was going on, but I read an article recently that explained the process that was taking place in his brain when we spoke about his priorities.
How the FBI would market their business
Robin Dreeke is a big cheese at the FBI, and in this interview here he talks about how we can establish trust and build relationships with customers. The article is great because it focuses on five ways in which we can build that trust that enables potential customers and business partners to open up to us. This is a million miles away from the â€˜hard sellâ€™. And reading the article made me think.
It was actually a lot easier and a lot more fun to just talk to this new client. How great would it be to become just two friends who hang out, share interests, and every now and then help each other out with business?
Read the article, learn what the FBI would do if it ran a business. And then get out there and talk to people. Thereâ€™s no stress and no pressure.
According to Robin Dreeke, all of us have an â€˜ancient survival instinct to belong to a tribeâ€™.
Can you see that that?
Are you tapping into that?