For small to medium-size company, these tactics are more than just low-cost; they are also very effective. They will provide you with a steady flow of incoming business year after year. They include personal contacts (or networking), face-to-face contacts, classes, free speeches, publicity, circulars, signs, and small ads. These tactics work for manufacturers, engineering firms, day-care centres, retailers, and every other type of business.
GIVING CLASSES AND SPEECHES
- Nighttime Classes
Neighbourhood community centres, technical colleges, and local junior colleges offer adult education courses. They typically include such courses as:
- Starting a day-care business.
- Micro enterprises – home-based businesses.
- Advertising and Public Relations for high-tech companies.
- Estate Planning: making your money work harder.
- Introduction to the basic computer.
These classes are an ideal way to find customers. Go to the community education centres and junior and technical colleges in your area and get a copy of their adult education schedules. See what type of classes they offer, and prepare a class related to your business. Then approach the person in charge and ask to teach the course. Many of the courses offered have been suggested by area business people, and there is a good chance that you can teach one and meet customers.
Be sure to post the description and location of any class you teach in a visible location in your business. It helps your credibility, and it lets customers see that you are looking out for their interest.
- Classes for Association or Trade Shows.
These classes are ideal ways for consultants, design firms. Manufacturers, or other service businesses to find customers. You just need to contact the trade show, find out who is in charge of the convention program, and then propose a class you would like to offer.
A dental company was offering a new endodontics product that was used for cleaning and preparing root canals. To find customers, the company hired a leading dentist and had him run seminars at leading shows that explained how the product worked. The dentist was able to get on the seminar program because of his reputation, and 100 to 400 dentists attended each seminar.
- Free Speeches
You can get opportunities to speak to relevant groups for virtually every type of business. The steps you should take to create an effective speaking program are listed below:
- Find groups interested in hearing from you.
- Check your local newspaper for community group meetings. Note the
a group that you would like to speak to and each group’s contact person.
- Check trade magazines and other industry publications for groups and associations you would speak to.
- Ask your networking contacts if they know of possible places to speak. Sometimes, there are hidden locations where you could speak.
- Select an interesting topic. Look at trade magazines or relevant consumer magazines, and make a list of ten to twenty topics that catch your interest. From those articles and your past experience, choose two or three topics people would like to know more about.
- Contact the appropriate people.
- Offer your service at no charge.
- Promise free samples or other information to people who hear your speech.
- Have a back-up testimonial from your past speeches.
- Include a hand-on activity. Have a group act as a focus group for market research. It makes the speech much more informative and interesting.
- Have a method in place to get people’s names.
- Have sign-up sheets for free samples, newsletters, or an advertising speciality item.
- Have a sign-up sheet for people to fill out.
- Offer a coupon for a free seminar.
- Bring a small, inexpensive item to sell. Them get people’s names when you give them a receipt.