How to Ruin Your Business Reputation
Awhile ago, I got an email from one of the "gurus" I follow and it shocked me. The gist of it was this person wanted to trade services for a household item.
To say it floored me would be an understatement.
What was worse was a few days later this person started sending emails promoting their coaching program. How could anyone who had gotten the "trade" email even consider signing up for their coaching program?
Now this was a pretty obvious blunder, but there are other, smaller blunders, you might be making that are hurting your business reputation and your ability to attract clients. But first, I want to make something clear.
The problem isn't that you're struggling right now. That happens. It's the nature of business and every seasoned business person knows it. Businesses will lose money or be flat from time to time. There's no shame in it, you just need to keep doing something about it (i.e. marketing, analyzing your offerings or your target market to see if you need to make a change, etc.)
The mistake happens when you make this too transparent. I'm not saying you should lie and say business is great when it's not. (In fact, please DON'T lie. That's another way to hurt your business reputation big time.) But (and this is ESPECIALLY true if you have a service business) don't make it obvious you're struggling. No one wants to hire a consultant who isn't busy. In the back of people's minds is the worry if the consultant isn't busy they must not be good. So you MUST not come across as too eager or that you have too much time on your hands.
No matter how desperate for customers you are, you must get that under control. People will sense desperation and either run from you or try and take advantage of you. Neither is all that good for you (either your business or your psyche).
So what can you do? Here are 3 tips to help you stay strong no matter what's going on in your business.
1. Keep marketing. Now is the time to step up your marketing. You have the time, why not write extra articles so you have them "stockpiled" when you do get busy again. Now might also be a good time to do a promotion but do NOT say it's because business is slow. Find some other creative way to do the same thing (for instance, maybe you have a "back to school" special, now that the kids are back in school you have some extra time to take on an additional client or two.) Or your promotion can be around a product or a group program. (Having a promotion around your product or group program doesn't carry nearly the social stigma of pedaling your service.)
2. Don't answer your phone. Yes, you heard me. Let voice mail pick it up or keep your virtual assistant on to return phone calls. Busy people don't sit by the phone willing it to ring. You need to get your mind off your phone (or your inbox) and on to drumming up customers.
3. Don’t drop your fees. Your fees aren't the problem. Something else is the problem. Either you aren't marketing enough or your target market isn't the right target market for you anymore or you need to tweak your offerings or something else is going on. But the moment you start dropping your fees or doubting yourself is the moment you'll start down a vicious downward cycle.
(Now, this doesn't mean you can't put together a lower priced package and promote it. That's fine and it may be a smart business decision. But to lower your hourly rate -- not a smart move.)
Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting and marketing agency. She helps entrepreneurs become more successful at attracting more clients, selling more products and services and boosting their business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at http://www.MichelePW.com Copyright 2009 Michele Pariza Wacek.