Like the seasons, I expand and contract. During social seasons, I’m reaching out to others, keen to talk, pitching myself, and saying ‘yes’ a lot. I’m good fun during these times.
And then the contraction: my calendar starts making me edgy, so I cull, reduce, edit and get on the ‘no train’. I’m not so easily contactable during these times. On a bad day, I’m done with adulting and don’t want to talk with anyone, least of all my family.
I don’t think I’m alone here. It’s pretty normal for most business owners to get excitable and energetic, adding and complicating their business. Followed by a period of editing and refining what they’re doing.
If you’re keen to simplify, you don’t like tech, you’re through with social media, or you’re just looking for a more effective way to market and grow your business, here are five simple yet highly effective methods you can use, with no (or minimal) tech required.
Be direct: pitch
First, a definition. Pitching is a straightforward, direct ask of someone. It can be done from a stage to a mass audience, but it’s more typically done one-to-one.
I pitch my kids to eat their broccoli. I pitch my best friend to speak on the phone on Saturday morning instead of Sunday. I pitch my partner for Chinese takeaway (he wants fish and chips).
Pitching is be clear and direct and asking for what you want, whether that’s a referral, testimonial, work, an introduction to someone, or something else.
The only tech required? Your email account. (Have you signed up for our Life’s a Pitch! challenge? It’s free, fun and highly effective.)
Without needing to learn any tech or any technique, chances are, you know people. You’re good at people. I hazard a guess that you use your intuitive and interpersonal skills every day.
So why not partner up and build your audience by sharing with another? No, you don’t need thousands of social media fans to do this. My first formal collaboration was with a photographer who shared the same niche as I. She had about 100 Facebook fans. I had about 300 fans. Together, we grew our Facebook audiences by running a competition. First prize? A free photoshoot.
Really, there are no rules for creating collaborations and partnerships apart from don’t partner with dickheads and be a decent human. If you enter all relationships with the attitude “what can I get from this?” you are likely the dickhead. But if you keep an open mind, an open heart, and think creatively and strategically, you can’t go wrong.
(I teach this strategy on our Hustle & Heart group program.)
Teaching and training
For the last 10 years, I’ve been teaching and training on other people’s courses and programs. Technically, you could call this a purposeful partnership, but it’s also a paid offering. So you get paid at the same time as you’re expanding your audience.
The best thing? These new people get to see you at your best, in action, being brilliant.
I’ve done all manner of training, from face-to-face to online, from highly paid (and flown around Australia, being put up in five-start hotels), to low paid or no pay (the low light? Talking on social media to a group of natural therapists who got completely side-tracked getting paranoid about stalkers).
My favourite is when the group are mid-sized (10-20 people) intelligent, ambitious, and challenge me with new business models or in sectors I’ve not had experience in. And, better yet, when they start working with me!
I’m not talking about waiting for clients to refer business. I’m talking about actively asking (and asking again) for clients to refer others to you. Technically, this falls within pitching (and is part of our Life’s a Pitch! Challenge).
There are many ways you can do this, none of which are wrong. You could start with a habitual “if you know of anyone who could use me to help X, Y, Z” quick email after each job is complete. You could automate this. Or you could launch a full-blown affiliate marketing program (this requires tech!).
Start simple. Begin by sending that quick email. Be a decent human. Express gratitude. Consider sending handwritten thank you cards and small gifts once a project is complete. Be a good egg in business and people will remember you and refer to you because you make them look good, feel good and do good in the world.
Here’s a radical idea: talk about what you do to people. Every time you meet a stranger, you have an opportunity to refine your pitch. Not in an obnoxious, suck-the-oxygen-from-the-room kind of way. But in a way that makes their eyes light up as they refer their sister-partner-best-friend-neighbour-mother to you.
Why? Because you’ve explained what you do, who you do it for, and why they’d want it, succinctly, compellingly and (most importantly) with enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm sells. Not everyone is your client. But everyone knows someone who knows someone who fits the bill of your ideal client. So get out there and meet strangers. You never know what marvelous things may eventuate.