Starting a business and making a sale all requires connecting with the right people. You might have an elevator speech memorized, business cards printed, website running online, and are on all the right social media platforms, but the question becomes how you close the gap. How do you connect with the right person at the right time?

If you’re ready to market your business or sell products a little more proactively, here are a few tips to consider:

ONE: Most people will never cross paths with you unless you help it happen.

Broadcasting your skills, products, or services needs to be done in a variety of ways, succinctly, and frequently. To be convincing you’ll need to clearly know yourself and what it is you do best and get the message across clearly. If you have a target audience in mind, your content can point out the benefits for that market.

Then you’ll need to connect with your target audience. Promote your products or services through your website, in newsletters, in person, in multiple social networks, or take out online advertising.  Be careful not to be tacky or pushy. Those you connect with will take but a few seconds to decide if they want to connect deeper with you or not.

TWO: People don’t know what you want them to know until you tell them.  

It’s easy for a small business owner to stay huddled up in the safety zone of their office hoping to make sales. Does fear of sharing or self-promotion hold you back?

While you know what it is you provide customers, they won’t know it until they hear about it from you. It’s best not to assume they’ll come to you and ask what you have for them.  It’s best to narrow down one or two products or services to feature that will catch the attention of those that might invest in them.

It may be very easy for your connections to forget what you do or even care on an ongoing basis, so frequent online posts or tweets at various times of day can be helpful.

THREE: Those that cross paths with your communications will want to know what’s in it for them.

Not everyone will be receptive to your posts or promotions because most people are self-indulgent, or at least self-protective of the time and money they’ll devote to new information or products. Make your point in as few words as possible always from the angle of describing what’s in it for the person reading.

It’s never a good idea to bore anyone with lengthy speeches or long online posts, and it’s never wise to bombard people with constant sales pitches. Before posting online put yourself in the shoes of a member of your target audience and ask what their perception of you might be and what there take away is.

FOUR: People will ignore you if you don’t engage.

 It’s a good policy to listen to others.  Listen to the words spoken in person and in online social media posts, blogs comments, or forums. Listen to what is said between the words too. Enter into two-way conversation when appropriate.  Ask questions, respond to replies. Earn trust.

Engaging also offers a great way to do suggestive selling.  A bakery shop owner might respond to a reply to a comment and add, “Just made a three-layer chocolate cake with thick frosting now waiting to be purchased, interested?”  The person may not head out to the shop to buy it, but if they’re a sweets-lover, chances are the image will stay lodged in their brain until they can no longer resist.

FIVE: You’re stronger in a tribe.

Never before has there been a greater opportunity for small business owners to learn from each other.  Gone are the days of only knowing as much as your high school teacher, college professor, in-house specialist, or textbook might have taught you.  There’s a crowd of knowledge out there and you get to be part of it.

Look for your crowd and join in. Get to know individual members.  Look for ideas.  Ask for solutions. Learn from them. Put your ego down and listen. Take advice. Thank those who respond. Promote others. Then plan what to do with your new information. If you make a good impression, your name will be first on their mind to recommend to others when given the chance.

Traction in your small business starts with creating your basic branding platform, followed by connecting, linking, and interacting with others. Once you begin to get feedback and see that others are sharing your posts, re-tweeting you, or helping to promote you, you’ve gained traction. As your brand, message, and personal story are broadcast, chances increase for you to make the right connection at the right time.

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