Monday, January 5, 2009

Doing Business in 2009

Here’s a new year, filled with exciting opportunities for Small Business. “Small Business Week” will come along in May and you will hear more about this from me in a later communication. For now, a reminder of a basic tenet for success in the business world – no matter what year it is! - People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Only you know for sure whether you’re trustworthy or not. How do you convey your trustworthiness to your clients and prospects? By always speaking the truth, by never promising more than you can deliver, and by always trying to deliver more than you have promised. Bernie Madoff’s clients trusted him for decades; then he ran off with their money. There is a lesson in that for all of us.

Likeability is a ‘biggie’ in our society and is probably too much relied upon (Bernie Madoff was very well liked!). Perhaps, as is the case in European and Asian business cultures, we should focus more on respect than on likeability, but I’m not holding my breath on such a shift. So, make sure you are thought of as a likeable person in your contacts with clients and prospect.

Does your market know you? Even expert communicators often hear something like: “Oh, you are a graphic designer; I thought you were a web developer!” Reach out to your market – constantly – make sure they understand what you offer, and use technology to your advantage. Make sure your web site is up to date, send out a monthly newsletter, start a blog if you don’t have one already and post to it regularly.

Finally, people! Believe me, your clients and prospects do not want to do business with your business; they want to do business with you! I have no statistics to share with you, but experientially, I can tell you that your outreach is far more likely to get a response if it comes from, e.g. Cindy Alsop than from Alsop Real Estate, or from Jack Brower than from Brower Art Gallery.

Happy New Year, with abundant business success!

1 comment:

Barb Giamanco said...

Absolutely right on, Lya!

I'm been selling for my entire life and throughout my career it was obvious that it wasn't always the "best" product that was ended up the winner. If you have a great product or service, but people don't like you or trust you - no sale. In Tom Peters' book - The Pursuit of Wow - he talks about how people will choose a lesser quality product if they like the people and trust them to take care of their problems when they arise.

Great post!