I spend a lot of time and effort cultivating prospects. And it can be a struggle. Setting up a great website, publishing a newsletter, networking with other business professionals and always keeping an eye out for new business opportunities. But sometimes, the opportunities are right there in front of you. To fully realize the potential, you have to have a positive attitude, and approach every business possibility as an opportunity to help someone.
Just yesterday, I was walking down the street and I popped into a shop that interested me. Not a particularly unique shop, but a shop that stocked items that can easily be purchased online. Nevertheless. when cultivating prospects a customer comes into your shop, that’s the best opportunity to engage them and use the opportunity to help them. They’re already right there in front of you. No need for inbound or outbound marketing, advertising, social media, etc. You got them into your shop, right where you want them, so sell them.
Anyway, as I entered the shop, I heard a voice from the back room say “hi”, and then nothing. I started looking around and I finally spoke up and said I needed some information on some lighting. I then proceeded to let the sales person know I had some knowledge and was not totally uninformed, but as I probed her for more information, I heard a voice from the back room say “give em’ a catalog”. I thought to myself “Give em’ a catalog, jeez what are you here for?” I could have easily gotten all this info online, but I wanted their expertise; I wanted an expert to sell me something. This struck me as odd. This small shop, possibly struggling to make it, especially after the recession, lost the opportunity to have me be a brand ambassador for their lighting shop. There was no one else in the shop, had they taken the time to educate me, and engage me, I quite possibly would have bought something. But, I didn’t. What I did notice was a sign that said “Like us on Facebook”.
As a small business owner, I know how valuable it is to cultivating prospects, it’s a delicate process. There’s hand holding, educating, and mentoring, it’s part of the job.
I also realize that a shop like this one is probably inundated with people coming in to get information, and then purchasing online. It’s a huge problem for brick and mortar stores to deal with this. But, I was actually shopping and looking for something to purchase then and there. I was seeking out their particular expertise and they handed me a catalog.
As we are involving ourselves in digital marketing for business, the bottom line is not how many “likes” you have on Facebook, or Twitter followers you have, it’s all about engagement, one customer at a time.