Hello again! Today I’m in Southern California, attending “Costume College,” an annual event chock full of classes on all kinds of costuming stuff, along with shopping, and a sweet costume tea, ice cream social, pool party, and gala. So far I’ve met oodles of awesome people, which brings me to the subject of today’s post.
As a small business owner, the personal connections you make with your potential customers, and well as with other business owners/bloggers/etc. are so very important. These days, a slick corporate facade can actually do you damage, as customers actively seek out the unique, underground, grassroots kinds of businesses that are run by honest people similar to them, and offer a good customer experience all but lost in the hubbub of mega-stores of the 21st century.
|Let’s be friends!
As you move forward in building your company, you are also building your brand. Most likely YOU are the brand, the face of your business, and more often than not, the person actually making the products! Your face will become synonymous with the name of your business, or your blog (they’d better be the same name!) – perfect examples are Lauren M, aka “Wearing History;” Laurie, aka “Daze of Laur;” or even me, aka “American Duchess.”
That being said, it’s important to show that face of yours! Attending costume or craft events is the perfect place to start. If there are slim pickings for costume or crafting events in your area, throw some yourself. They don’t have to be big events – my particular favorite is a casual tea in a local tea shoppe, or a picnic in the park. Invite everyone who may be even remotely interested in your niche. Whether you are attending a local event or throwing your own, this is a great opportunity to meet people, let them meet you, and network.
|Throw your own costume or crafty parties
Of course, for many this is easier said than done. I admit I am painfully awkward when it comes to meeting new people. Honestly, I find it really difficult, and even more uncomfortable when I meet fans at events. I just never know what to say, so usually what I say is something lame!
I’m still working on how to meet people gracefully, but so far what I’ve learned is…ask a lot of questions, listen lots, talk little. You want to get to know your fans and customers, and you also don’t want to come off as a pompous ass by talking about how awesome you are.
|Remember, you have something in common!
Meeting folks out-and-about allows them to get to know you as a “real” person, and you to learn about your fans and customers one-on-one. It forges personal relationships that result in happy customers and a business owner that really cares about giving good service to the people buying her products.
So get out there and attend some events! Don’t forget to take business cards, or even some cool promotional goodies, like buttons, stickers, etc. Be honest, elegant, open, and a good listener, and you will not only capture potential new sales, but make friends too. 🙂
If you have questions you’d like answered, or are a small business owner and would like to guest post for SBB, drop me a line – [email protected] .