Battle uncertainty with business strategy

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Are you leaving money on the table because you aren’t running your business as effectively as you could? What do you need to do to stay ahead of the curve?

What should you do to reduce insecurity for your clients and employees, streamline marketing, and take advantage of technology with strategies to build your business?

1. Clinch Client Commitment. Are you addressing the concerns of your clients so they are confident with your advice?

Put yourself in your clients’ lives. This is a time of fear for many investors. They are getting confusing information from the media and their friends. They need reassurance and quality information from you.

Do you go where your people are? Do you know what they are thinking, what they are planning, and where their “pain points” are? If not, spend a little time online where your clients are.

Read their Facebook pages, websites and LinkedIn profiles. Watch their YouTube videos. What are your clients thinking about and what worries them?

For example, parents often post congratulatory notes of excitement because their high school senior just got accepted into Harvard. Harvard tuition for 2012-2013 is $54,496 per year. Ouch! This is a great time for you to send your clients a note or call them with an offer to meet and strategize about rising college tuition.

Are your clients changing jobs? You can probably find out if you connect with them on LinkedIn. Who do you know who is hiring for their skill set? What? You don’t know their skill set? Maybe it is time for a lunch meeting to figure out how you can help during this transitional period.

What new product, service or promotion are your clients involved with? Make it a habit to peruse their websites for news, and then figure out a way to help. Offer to do a press release, get them an interview with a local radio talk show host, or forward news of their business to people who can become a buyer.

2. Reciprocate and Refer. When you help someone else, there is a desire to reciprocate. If you refer business, chances are very high that they will refer business back to you as well.

Ask for referrals. Not obnoxiously, but be clear about who you want to work with and then ask for a referral. Need a referral system? I recommend reading Bill Cates.

Bill Cates wrote Don’t Keep Me a Secret, Get Referrals Now, and his new book is Beyond Referrals: How to Use the Perpetual Revenue System to Convert Referrals into High-Value Clients. I rabidly devour everything he writes.

3. Cooperative Collaboration. Business is lonely and far less lucrative without a team of people helping and collaborating.

Do you have a trusted mastermind group of other professionals you rely on for advice? Do you have a board of directors you can trust.

Collaborationship is about trust, and sincerely helping other people grow their business while they help you grow yours.

How can you increase business by collaborating?

  • Joint marketing efforts
  • Product bundling
  • Share subscription fees and resources
  • Share contracted employees
  • Co-opt on projects, such as education seminars for your clients
  • Promote each other at networking events
  • Refer each other

4. Be findable. Is it easy for your current clients to find you? Is it easy for them to refer other people to you?

The NFL network interviewed me, and I asked, “How did you find me?” I thought the National Football League would have an intricate network of experts. The answer? “We Googled ‘Denver leadership’ and you came up.”

Once people find you and your website, can they contact you? Are your phone number and address easy to find? Is your online presence an accurate reflection of what you do?

If people cannot find you, they cannot hire you. Yes, you attend events and yes, you pass out business cards, but that is not how people find and remember you.

There is a difference between information push and information pull. Information pull means people have to go find you. Information push means you push out enough information to make their search fast and painless.

I love a monthly newsletter. My goal is to:

1) help my “tribe” be more successful in their business,

2) provide great information,

3) promote terrific and helpful resources,

4) not be a sales pitch,

5) remind people what I do,

6) help people find me.

While I spend a lot of time on the newsletter content, I am happy even if it isn’t read. Why? Because once a month, I know that by hitting the reply button, you can contact me. Not my assistant, not an auto responder. You get me.

So be findable. If you need help, look at Heather Lutze’s Thumbonomics at http://tinyurl.com/HeaLutze.

Unless you are Al Capone and have a lot to hide, what you do should be clear and understandable in your online presence. People cannot easily hire you if they are confused about what you do.

Mary Kelly, Ph.D., CEO of Productive Leaders, can be reached at Mary@ProductiveLeaders.com.