If you are running a small business, YOU are the business. Even if you’re actually selling a product, what you’re really selling is yourself and your service. So how do you sell yourself? Legally that is? 🙂
First of all, be accessible. Set up your business so that your clients can contact you, personally. Doesn’t have to be a phone number, but email access is great. Have a website, check (and respond to) e-mail, create a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
Given the inherently impersonal nature of the Internet, it is even more important to give your clients legitimate ways to reach you since the likelihood is high that you will never meet face to face. Let your online persona match your business, but also let it match your real-life personality. Skype is also an excellent method of contact, and building out your LinkedIn profile increases your credibility as well.
Secondly, be knowledgeable. Especially if you are doing consulting or designing work, your clients are paying for your know-how. After all, if they knew how to do it they’d be doing it themselves right? Know your stuff.
If you are selling custom clothing, you’d better have a good knowledge of fabrics, sizing, and body types. If you are editing manuscripts for publication you need to know what styles of writing sell and which ones don’t. The bottom line is that you need to take the time to become an expert in your field, whatever it is.
Does this mean you have to have a college degree to be an expert? Not at all. IMHO just about anyone can become an expert on a topic if they read enough books, talk to enough experts, and apply what they learn whenever and wherever possible.
Just about any field is fair game to those motivated enough to read, research, retain and regurgitate. OK so maybe regurgitate sounds a little gross. The bottom line is that if you can deliver results, it doesn’t matter where you gained the knowledge. Results matter, source of knowledge does not.
Third, you need to showcase that expertise in a clever but effective way, a way that provides so much value to others they will want to sing your praises all over the country. (OK, so maybe that’s not realistic, but you get me right?) Over-deliver and do the unexpected (in a good way) every time.
People remember stuff like that, and they talk to other people about stuff like that. For instance, I recently bought a $27 dollar product. The product was phenomenal in and of itself… a 250+ page manual, along with several PDF bonuses with excellent and valuable information that I can USE. But to top that off, the guy also offers a YEAR of free consult via email. A YEAR of his time and experience for $27 bucks. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s what I call over-delivering!
So, to recap:
- Be accessible.
- Be knowledgeable.
- Over-deliver in value.
Any questions? 🙂