How often have you driven by a business or taken notice of a business and thought,
“What is going on with their marketing? There doesn’t seem to be any?” If this applies to your business, take no offense! I’m not here to knock you. This article is directed at those who have a good marketing and sales funnel and notice others’ mistakes. I have a suggestion for you.
When you see a business that is struggling because it is not doing any marketing or its marketing efforts are wholly off the mark, help them out! Call or email the owner and recommend a marketing firm you know of, a potential employee, or just give them some tips. The marketing firm or the potential employee would both appreciate the referral. And so will the struggling business you contact.
So many people talk about “networking.” I have never been a fan of the business card handout. It’s impersonal and I never remember who gave me the card if someone barely said 10 words to me! But I always remember when someone gives me helpful (meaning: not overbearing!) advice or suggestions, especially if the person then gave me a card or delivered the advice or suggestions via email or phone, including voicemail. Helping two people out — the struggling business and the business you connect it to — helps you build your network and make you memorable. You help someone and who knows how it may come back to you and your business.
Know any marketing companies, business coaches, or sales training companies, for example? Drop the struggling business a quick note or email or call with the other business or person’s information.
Some of the best networkers are actually connectors. By noticing a business with poor marketing and helping them out, you are acting as a connector. Do you want business acquaintances and others to refer you? When you reach out to others to help by referring those you know, you strengthen your referral network. Another plus of doing this is that you also are training yourself to look for opportunities and remain aware of what’s going on around you. Opportunities are everywhere, you just have to be aware. All helpful for your business.
Lastly, if you are the owner of a marketing business, a struggling business doing little or no marketing presents your firm with a great opportunity. Summarize the major points you see regarding what the company is doing wrong, comment on the resulting lack of traffic or customers and, very importantly, recommend some high impact but low cost or very rapid improvements. Your call to action (in Internet speak!) is to have the business owner or general manager call you or one of your employees for a free initial consultation, or whatever your firm offers.
Remember to provide some quick, helpful recommendations. If you only point out what the business is doing wrong, you miss a great opportunity to assist a fellow business owner. Will owners be motivated to call when you only tell them what they’re doing wrong? Give him or her a nugget of hope and he or she will be more motivated to engage.
Caveat: While it is true that some stubborn individuals dismiss the importance of marketing, most simply do not understand the connection between marketing and sales. When marketing goes unmeasured, it is easy for it to be highly ineffective or disregarded. So educating a firm about how marketing (or its sister, public relations) drives sales often helps. In these situations, numbers are always greatly appreciated!