A friend of mine came to me a few weeks ago. He was really (really) needing to get some new customers and wanted to know if I would work with him. So, we sat down to hash out some ideas on how he could do that. One of the questions I asked him was what value he was providing people before they became his customers and what value was he providing previous clients that he wasn’t currently doing work for.
I explained by providing good information to people that helps them (not about him), it can lead to opportunities in the future (that’s about him). We discussed how he could leverage his website, newsletters, social media, the media, meetings or collateral to make it about ‘them’ and increase the chance of those opportunities.
This might be an idea you’ve heard a hundred times, but has it sunk in?
The value you provide has to be honest and free. It can’t be promotion masked as information; consumers can smell that. I didn’t say, of course, that you can’t promote while you’re providing value; there just has to be clear dividing lines and the value must be worth the permission to promote.
Fast forward… he’s now a client. We’re building his email list, his social media plan, re-designing his website and plugging him in locally where it makes sense. He’s changing the way he approaches potential clients and the way he converses with them. Do you know why?
He’s finally got it. He understands the rules of marketing have changed and consumers are wielding the power they always had. He’s grasped the concept of educating his current/potential clients so they can make good decisions for themselves. He’s making an investment in their education to earn a reputation as an expert and earn their future business.
I know you know how important it is to educate consumers about aging in place. (You told us so.) Obviously, I agree; it’s good for the consumer, necessary for your community and can be the catalyst to supercharge your business growth. But, how do you do it in a way that is effective, affordable & maintainable.
I know several people that are doing seminars or speaking at clubs, churches or local employers. Some are revamping their business collateral to be more educational and less promotional (or designing new stuff that is focused on education and downplaying the promotional material). And, I know a few that have switched their social media efforts into high educational gear and are using it as a platform to build up local consumer knowledge.
Do you think a monthly newsletter is too much work? Do you think social networking is a waste of time? Do you think seminars or speaking engagements are not for you?
People are waiting to give their business to someone with enough guts to stand up as the local expert. And, I believe your business growth will be directly impacted by the effort you expend on selflessly educating consumers in your community.
What are you doing?
I know there are a lot of you out there doing some awesome things to educate people in your city. How are you telling them about aging in place, what they should do to prepare themselves and how they can get their needs met?
Tell me what you think.
PS My buddy’s effort is already starting to pay off. He has a few new clients and together we’ve mapped out a plan for the next few months that puts potential client ed first. He’s tickled and I’m really astounded at the difference it has made in him.
If you could use a hand, let me know.
~ Mark Hager