“How Can I Grow My Business When No One Has Heard of Me?”
If your business is fairly new, you’ve recently moved to a new area, or you’re launching a new service to a new market, building up a strong reputation can be hard work. You need that reputation in order for people to trust you and then buy from you. But when no one knows you, or no one knows about your services, how do you do this? How do you build the reputation that you need?
One way of doing this is by sharing your knowledge and expertise with contacts – for free. Think about it. If you turn up at a networking meeting and just try to sell your services to the first person you meet, are they going to buy from you? Will they even speak to you if they think you’re actually looking to charge them for any scrap of advice that you give them? Doubtful.
Instead, think about the value that you can offer to a prospective client, to help them get to know you and see how much you know about your industry. Here are some ways in which you can do this:
Networking – once you’ve got the “What do you do?” bit out of the way at a networking meeting, ask how you can help the other person. What issues are they struggling with on which you could offer some advice? It’s not about seeing which of your services you can sell to them, but about offering some help and guidance. Of course, if you have a free half hour coaching session to offer them, that you think will really help them resolve a particular issue they’ve told you about, then go for it!
Social Media – Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to share advice. Sadly, many people just post information about what they’re selling. To use social media properly, give away tips and suggestions to help potential clients and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Public Speaking – if you are comfortable speaking to an audience, then giving presentations at networking events is a great way to share your knowledge and expertise. It also allows your audience of potential clients to get to know you. If you’ve never done public speaking before, please do get some training before you do it, because doing a bad job can be really harmful for your reputation.
Email Newsletters & Blogs – these are both great ways of building your reputation through offering value. Don’t use a newsletter or blog to constantly try to sell your service to people who don’t yet trust you. Share your experience before you offer something like a free consultancy session.
Videos – some people would rather listen to what you have to say, than read about it. So why not share your knowledge through short videos that people can watch whenever they want? For some examples, take a look at the video page on the Appletree website, where you’ll find lots of free advice that you can use.
When you don’t have a solid reputation, people won’t trust you. They won’t buy from you until they trust you. Think about how you can offer value to potential clients, to help establish that trust and develop the reputation you need to grow a successful business.