Dialogue vs Monologue
I don't think that there is an owner of a small business, anywhere, that hasn't dreamed of more customers and a big advertising budget to make that happen. Be careful what you wish for. For a small business that could do you more harm than good.
I say that based on what I have learned from Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of Guerrilla Marketing.
One of his many good theories is.... running a small business is completely different from the job of running a corporation.
Advertising done by large corporations is driven by money, while the marketing done by small business is driven, not by money (most of us don't have those kind of bucks) but by time, energy and creativity.
Large corporations like Coca Cola, McDonald's and Microsoft advertise in the manner that they do because - their only option for communicating with their customers is a monologue. They spend millions of dollars to deliver their message, all the while hoping that you are listening and hoping that you like what you hear.
Levinson often speaks in his presentations about the 20 ways that Guerrilla Marketing differs from traditional marketing. And, uses those differences to build a case for the idea that Guerrilla Marketing is a better approach for small business.
One of my favorite points from that list, is the idea that small businesses have the advantage of a dialogue. You have the ability to start, and maintain, a conversation with most, if not each, of their customers.
If you marry that with the idea that visibility + credibility = profitability (BNI 's VCP Process) you have a powerful formula for success that is unique to small business.
The dialogues, that we can and do have with every customer, is an opportunity to build credibility.
That dialogue takes many forms in small business -
- All those questions that customers ask are an opportunity for a dialogue - an inquiry for pricing, an request for a quote, product availability, product features or the need for a rush delivery.
- The opinions your customers share, even their complaints,are an opportunity to start a dialogue.
- The praise your customer offers at the end of successful sale, opens the door to a request for a referral, the chance to start a new dialogue with another customer.
- A customer returning for repeat business is asking for another I bet because they enjoyed the 1st one.
There are also a number of tactics that you, the business owner, can use to invite a dialogue –
- Signage - building or vehicle
- Logo'd wearables - you and your employees
- Business cards
- Seasonal products
- Promotional Giveaways
- Sales or discounts
- Newsletters, Blogs, Facebook or Twitter
- Thanks you notes
- Requests for referrals.
Once started, a dialogue that will allow you, build credibility by what you say and how you act.
I know that you have all heard - "it is human nature to do business with people you know, like and trust"... it's the dialogue you create with your customers that will build that relationship.
The relationship that dialogue creates will lead to this sale and if well maintained will lead to future sales too.
So I say, good luck to you Coke, McDonald's and Microsoft... too bad all you have is big bucks and a monologue.
We have the power of dialogue and are using that to build relationships with customers.