Take It To The Customer
In the past, purchasing ad space was the solution to every entrepreneur’s marketing challenge. Then it was direct mail, followed by telemarketing. But with advertising and postage costs on the rise, these tactics have lost some of their appeal.
Today the competition is fierce for a customers’ attention. In order to compete, you need to employ take-it-to-the-customer techniques. Some of these techniques can include attending trade shows, seminars, and sending them to your website.
You want to promote your business and in doing so you want to maximize referrals and conduct effective public relations campaigns. The following are five sure-fire, inexpensive marketing methods:
1. Be an expert. Don’t overlook your most accessible source of promotion: yourself. Give speeches to industry groups, colleges and community organizations, or offer workshops at conferences and business expos. Provide sign-up sheets or marketing materials for potential customers. Also, be a reference for customers, clients, vendors and related businesses by circulating relevant information and providing contacts. After all, home-based businesses thrive on a steady stream of referrals from clients.
For those of us in the lease purchasing business, this means writing articles for publication. Don’t make it difficult, write about the deals you’ve done. Give speeches at local real estate clubs on lease purchase. Network with local groups (accountants, mortgage brokers, financial planners, etc.). Operate your lease purchase business as we do, as a business, and referrals will come to you, rather than you chasing the deals.
2. Create a press kit. Getting quoted in the media or having an article written about your business is a great and inexpensive way to target your market. Watch for trends that you can tie your business into. Your press kit should include a profile of your company, biographies of its principals, product fact sheets and testimonials from customers. Make a list of trade magazines, local newspapers, and radio and TV stations to which you can send short releases on new products, deals, awards or special events.
Again, for those of us operating a lease purchase business, become the local expert in lease purchasing. Offer to write articles. Be sure to do a press release when you start your business, and distribute it to the local newspapers. If you run a group meeting, seminar, or any type of special event be sure to send a press release to the local papers, radio and television stations. Send out follow up letters after your deals are completed to get testimonials, and keep a journal of your deals.
3. Circulate newsletters. Newsletters are a great way to showcase your company’s expertise and keep your name in front of prospective clients on a regular basis. They show that you are not just a salesperson—you are an expert with important information to offer. Develop a mailing list of clients and send copies of your newsletter quarterly.
Again, for those of us in lease purchasing a newsletter can be the perfect vehicle to use as a follow up piece to send to sellers, tenant buyers and investors.
4. Network. You’ll save money by selling through trade or professional groups. Swamped with running the daily operations of your business, you may feel you have little time to give. But you’ll learn about sales leads by joining groups of like-minded individuals. Also, serve on the boards of community organizations, and host house parties tied to your business—you can hire students from cooking or catering schools or work out an arrangement with a local restaurant to keep costs down.
Whatever type of business you are operating networking is a must. Develop a networking plan and follow through with it. We discuss this extensively in our home business manual. Check it out at our products page on our site.
5. Form alliances. There are several ways you can band together with complementary enterprises to reduce costs and increase business opportunities. Some involve complex legal paperwork, such as a joint venture or a strategic alliance. Others are less formal partnerships, such as a virtual corporation, where you assemble a group for a specific project or client. For instance, as a contractor, you might partner with two other companies to win a bid. Another type of alliance is a consortium, where a group of companies with different specialties share their services; for example, a consulting firm teaming with a graphic artist and a photographer to create brochures and other marketing materials.
In regards to forming alliances in lease purchasing, we have mentioned on numerous occasions to work with accountants, mortgage brokers, financial planners and real estate agents. The key is to forming and keeping alliances is to reciprocate and to pay great referral fees. You have to be sincere when forming alliances, if not, don’t bother.
Copyright DeFiore Enterprises 2003