A crucial element to a successful small business is the building of relationships with your customers. As with any relationship, whether personal or professional, each party must bring something to the table to share with the other person. Sharing details about yourself in even a small way can really go far in creating mutual trust and respect, both qualities that consumers find important when deciding where to take their business. Here are some suggestions for how you can promote your business by creating a unique story.
- Remember why you began. No one takes lightly the decision to go into business for themselves. Although many things probably factored into your decision, there is most likely one driving reason why you chose this endeavor. Perhaps you wanted to find a way to stay home with your children during the day, or maybe a loved one inspired you to leave a job you didn’t enjoy to pursue a dream that would make you happy. When sharing your business with others (friends, prospects, network contacts), make sure to include this personal story. Tip: Write it out, including any details you remember, and then highlight the most important and personal elements. What you’re left with will be a memorable story that you can use when building business relationships.
- Know your strengths and share your inspirations. What do you have to offer your customers that your competitors do not? A higher quality product? Personalized customer service that goes above and beyond? Whatever it may be, share with others why you think it is so important. For example, a wedding videographer finds much success by promoting her ability to shoot wonderful videos without being intrusive to the bride and groom. This is important to her because not only had she been to several weddings where the videographer got in the way, but her own wedding was nearly ruined when the cameraperson nearly tripped her going down the aisle! A humorous but personal story will make you seem more human, help your customers remember you, and demonstrate your commitment to making them happy.
- Highlight your accomplishments and how you achieved them. Accomplishments can be anything from receiving formal recognition within your community to simply landing enough sales every month to turn a nice profit. Without being boastful, share your journey to the top with others you meet. Back to the wedding videographer, she would do well with a story about how she perfected the art of taking great videos without being noticed. People like to do business with others they know who work hard and take pride in that work. Don’t be afraid to shine the spotlight on yourself once in a while.
- Reflect on how you learned from past mistakes. No one is perfect, so if you try to paint yourself as such, you will undoubtedly turn people off because you won’t sound sincere. When telling your story, include a few downs of your journey as well as the ups. That wedding videographer didn’t magically become so skilled overnight; she had some weddings in the beginning of her career where she was so focused on staying out of the way that she missed some important moments. However, watching and studying her own footage as well as studying the methods of industry experts helped her perfect her craft and improve her skills. After all of that hard work, she’s not afraid to share how she got to be where she is with others. Customers will appreciate your honesty and be reassured that you do truly strive for their satisfaction.
Identifying and sharing the unique elements of yourself and your business is an effective way to promote it. The key is in deciding which details to include and which to omit. Think like your customer when you choose!
Finally, make sure you practice telling your stories. You want them to sound natural and comfortable when sharing them. Remember that they’re your stories and yours alone, so don’t be afraid to a get a little personal while still staying appropriate.
Do you use unique stories in your business? Share your ideas below!
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