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Do it yourself promo tricks

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					Standing Out in the Crowd

I know I’m either going to show my age with what I’m about to say or,
worse, brand myself as hopelessly anachronistic. Regardless, I’ve found
our current business culture to be increasingly impersonal. If you have
any doubt about this, feel free to pick up a phone, dial up any of your
service providers and try to get an honest to goodness living, breathing
human being to talk to on the line. Sure, you may indeed get one, but
you’ll wear the skin off your index finger pushing the number pad trying
to get through the automated prompts and you’re likely to spend the
better part of an hour waiting on hold waiting.

I probably shouldn’t be using that example. I know, I’ve sold my fair
share of those automated attendants in my time, but I wanted to make a
point. We’ve become reliant on technology and doing business through
computer proxy. It’s the norm. Exceeding limitations means breaking out
of the norm, though. Expanding your business takes more than doing what
the rest of the crowd is doing. With that in mind, let me make a radical
suggestion that really shouldn’t be that radical, advertising with a
personal touch.

No, you don’t have to personally answer every single call that comes into
your office. What I’m suggesting is to print business cards (if you’ve
got out of date or monotone cards, update your wallet with professional,
color business cards) and brush up on your social networking skills. I’m
not talking about knocking on doors and hitting people with aggressive
sales pitches. What I’m talking about is actively engaging people in your
community. You shouldn’t lead with your card, either. Save the business
card for the tail end of your conversation, after you’ve made a personal
connection. In the process, you’ll make some friends, find new customers
and become a more prominent and recognizable face in your community.

That’s the key. When you put a human face on your business, people will
feel more comfortable spending their money with you. Given the choice,
most consumers would rather deal with someone they know in their
community than another cold, faceless corporate entity. This works both
ways too. Since your customers will be friends and neighbors instead of
walking dollar signs, you’ll find that your levels of service and
commitment to delivering on your promises will increase, which will
further bolster your customer base.

It’s a win/win situation that requires a very minimal investment - just
the cost of business card printing and a small expenditure of your time.
It could be the thing that finally makes your business an enduring, local
institution. Who knows, it might even inspire you to turn off the
automated attendant and answer your phone when a customer calls. Hey, I
can always dream, right?

				
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posted:2/15/2010
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