Even though President-Elect Obama’s staffÂ has startedÂ to take shape (and the hand-wringingÂ has begun), you shouldn’t thinkÂ of “President-Proofing” your business as something specific to him.
Sure, some things will be different in an Obama administration than inÂ a McCain one, but the things you have the ability to exert control over are largely insensitive to the personality sitting behind the Resolute desk.
One way of President proofing your business is to simply do more business. Obviously, we talk about a number of additional ways to attract (as opposed to chase) new clients, but one we haven’t ever discussed is that of the ripest fruit.
The ripest fruit might not be the best term for it, but bear with me. I’m talking about the clients you would simply LOVE to have. Surely there’s a list in your head of 1,Â 2, half a dozen or 100 of them.
You might not have 100 on the tip of your tongue,Â so let’s talk about the process.
If you were asked toÂ chooseÂ the absolute bestÂ group of people (if you run a consumer-oriented business) or absolute best businesses (if you run a business that serves other businesses) that you don’t currently have as a client, but would be thrilled to have as new clients, who would be on your list?
Yes, I’m suggesting you make a list and that you expand your thinking a bit. There are all kinds of ways to qualify for this list.
Will they be a high-profit or long-term repeat client?
Will they be a client who will result in other people flocking to your business, simply because you can say they are your client?
Will they push your business into a new market for the products and services you already sell?
If you own a retail store, maybe you do some wholesale or online selling as well, so don’t forget those. If you own a service business that primarily serves consumers, don’t forget that some businesses might need your help – sort of like an quick lube oil change shop might do all the vehicles for a city, a county, or a business with a fleet of cars and trucks.
This technique works betterÂ as a way to attractÂ businesses thanÂ it does to attract aÂ consumer type of client, but it will work for both if you put some thought into the next piece of the process.
Putting the list to use
Once you have this list, make it a part of your daily schedule to learn as much as you can about the businessesÂ / people (be polite, please) on your list. Maybe you or your assistant spend 15 minutes a day researching the people on this list, but do it. Schedule it.
Even if we’re talking about attracting a business – there’s still a person you must attract. Businesses don’t buy stuff. People do.
Begin contacting them regularly – but not with a pile of sales stuff, no matter how good it is.
Create a system for researching, contacting and continuing to casually drizzle pertinent, helpful information on your prospect list.
Your system might includeÂ some of these steps – and might include ones I haven’t listed here:
- Add them to your print newsletter mailing list. DO NOT start emailing them a bunch of stuff, even your email newsletter. Your print newsletter should refer to it so they can sign up if that is one of the ways they prefer to get info.
- Every week or two,Â send them a hand-written note or card – NOT a sales pitch -Â that includes something importantÂ or meaningful to them. This might include an article in the paper or on the net about one of their staff, themselves, their business, one of their customers or a familyÂ member.Â It could be something as simple as a snipping of something out of a paper from across the state that talksÂ about a cousin. It might be as simple as a web page about one of their customers, or about their industry, accompanied by a short note that says you thought they might be interested.
- Maybe you don’t know their cousin, but you see a similar name from the sameÂ hometown as theirs in their hometown paper. Cut it out, send itÂ to them with a note saying you were guessing theyÂ might be related andÂ if so,Â hope they enjoy the snip from that local paper.
Expand on this as it makes sense for the type of person or business you are courting. DO NOT chase them. SimplyÂ “be present” with informationÂ helpful, interesting or pertinent to them.
You want to be seen as a valuable resource to them, not a pest – this is particularly true for consumers. If your marketing to this group of people was a rainstorm, it wouldn’t be aÂ driving, windblown drencher, it’d be a fine drizzle. Â
Add this as just one of the ways you attract new clients to your business. Why not go for the clients you’d really like to have? Someone has to serve them. Why not you?
Once they respond, then they should become a part of the funnel or process that your marketing system takes them through to guide them to being a client.
There’s no need to wait for the inauguration. You can startÂ working onÂ this today.