“When you meet a master swordsman, show him your sword. When you meet a man who is not a poet, do not show him your poem.”
If you believe what I believe — that if people know you, they’ll hire you — the next obvious thing is to give new people a chance to get to know you. So the question becomes, how can you people get to know you?
Full books have been written about how to find good prospects, but here’s a short list of my favorite techniques:
- Offer free or low-cost seminars relevant to your industry. These establish your credibility, and let you meet prospects in a low-stress environment. (It’s low-stress for them, if not for you.)
- Send postcards to prospects introducing your business. Your postcards should give them some reason to call you, such as a low introductory rate, or a few hours for free. (As I’ve written elsewhere in this book, I once gave away two days of work at no cost -- and earned million dollars of business in return.)
- Volunteer in your community. I’ve always enjoyed working as a volunteer, and as a nice side benefit, I’ve also met other business owners and even politicians at charitable events. Volunteering can be good for your heart, and your wallet.
- Work the internet. Create a decent website, and learn about things like SEO and SEM so prospects will find your website. Even if a Google AdSense ad costs $5 per click, that’s a lot cheaper than things like radio advertising. (We paid as much as $30,000/year for radio advertising.) Work other internet resources, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I know from my own experience that this works; although I now live in Colorado, I still get calls from people in Alaska who have found my old website.
- Try advertising in trade magazines or local newspapers and magazines.
- Hire a PR person. My business partner and I got into the Louisville newspaper and local trade journals several times after hiring a PR person and paying her less than $5,000.
My favorite thing about this part of marketing is that this is where the creative aspect of your business comes into play. For instance, if you decide to send out postcards, both the design of your card and what you say is entirely up you.
Note: At this point I highly recommend buying two books from Robert Bly. The first book is titled Selling Your Services, and it talks in depth about this extremely important topic of finding new prospects. The second book is titled The Copywriter’s Handbook, and it discusses how to write text (“copy”) that demands attention. If the idea of sending mailers to prospects appeals to you, these are the two best books I know about this subject.