Words of Wisdom and Inspiration for the Aspiring Entrepreneur from Frank Covich, Founder of the National Association of Independent Business Brokers (NAIBB)
by Frank Covich
If you’re in new business start-up mode, my message this week is for you and it concerns marketing. One of the smartest things you can do early on is to focus on identifying possible referrals, other people who are willing and able to refer a client or customer to you.
Keep in mind, people like to refer someone they know to someone else, especially if the person or organization they are referring does good work and can provide a much-needed service or product. Back in the day, everyone had their favorite car salesman. I had a relative who lived in Chicago and was the top Chevy salesman in the U.S. for many years. Ken’s talent for leveraging his client relationships to bring in other customers was truly amazing.
Thankfully, not much has changed in this world where that is concerned. We all have or are looking for someone in our lives that we know we can count on when buying that certain something or getting something done just the way we like it. Think about your accountant, your auto repair shop, your hairdresser or your pet boarding kennel to name just a few. People still want and need to feel that sense of trustworthiness and connection. So give some serious thought to who would be most likely to bring you a client or customer and why. It will pay off.
Here’s an example…
In my program, BeBizBroker, I coach my clients to start their marketing campaigns by approaching accounting professionals, especially around that time of year when every accountant is already talking to every business owner they serve, i.e. tax season. Tax time is when the issue of selling a business is most likely to come up. An accountant with a “when it’s time to sell your business” brochure in hand can become the best and most effective lead source you will ever have as a business broker.
Get used to the term barter. In exchange for your accounting friends sending you a hot lead, you can offer to send clients to them. The key is to think about who the target is for your products and services, and then to think about who might send someone to you, regardless of what business you happen to be in.
As for other mass marketing techniques for you to consider, here’s an example to get you thinking, and it focuses on mattress cleaning…
Otto the Orkin man used to walk up and down the streets with a jar of bugs that were most commonly found in homes, and he’d ask people, “Have you seen these in your house?” Many had. He’d tell them he could get rid of them, especially if they were in their mattresses. That one simple exercise is what allowed him to build the Orkin empire. Clearly, thousands of motels and millions of homes needed his services, and he mastered the art of actually showing them how and why.
You need to work on actively marketing your business to clubs and other organizations with your brochures and by making demonstrations however and whenever you can. It’s important to think about how you can articulate the benefits of whatever product or service you provide in concrete ways that save people time and/or money.
The bottom line is that by focusing on referrals and getting outside of the box to employ creative mass marketing strategies, your startup is bound to succeed.
Just remember, be like Otto. Get creative. Marketing can and should be fun!
All the best,