As a beginner or rep of a new company, we all mistakenly do things that get us bad or zero results. It’s common to feel like you are a failure or you don’t deserve all the opportunities you need. That’s not true.
Quick brain teaser: If you had a shark in front of you right now, what would you say to avoid becoming Shark food?
Shark Tank is a TV show that comes up in a lot of business lessons most of us have read. “The show features a panel of investors called “sharks,” who decide whether to invest as entrepreneurs make business presentations on their company or product. The sharks often find weaknesses and faults in an entrepreneur’s valuation of their company, product, or business model. Some of the investors are usually kindhearted and try to soften the impact of rejection, like panel member Robert Herjavec, while others such as Kevin O’Leary can be “brutal” and show “no patience even for tales of hardship.” The sharks are paid as cast stars of the show, but the money they invest is their own. The entrepreneur can make a handshake deal (gentleman’s agreement) on the show if a panel member is interested. However, if all of the panel members opt out, the entrepreneur leaves empty-handed.” -Wikipedia.
It’s like getting mauled by a shark when you lose a deal like that. You have your own sharks, we all have sharks we want to win over.
“…we all mistakenly do things that get us bad or zero results.”
Just like the panelists on the Shark Tank, every new business prospect is a shark. So, are you killing it in your business or you are getting killed?
How do you access new networks for your business?
A lot of business people I have encountered in Nigeria have a low risk threshold so typically the approach is to hire many hands for cheap or for free and give them unreasonable targets. The hope is that somehow, one of the low risk interns or sales reps will blow or that they will be connected to Otedola somehow.
It’s like throwing your baby sardine into the sea and expecting it to somehow come back married to a shark.
This of course rarely happens. A lot of internships have turned to marketing ploys instead of learning experiences.
As a Real Estate intern for example, everyone is told that there are days devoted to sourcing. What you do is to go to every bank around, every construction site and practically every place where there is a sign that some property works is already getting done. You are then supposed to convince people to use your company instead of the one that was recommended or is owned by their bricklayer; who has been part of the family for years.
Despite your several As and familiarity with property law, your chances are as good as zilch. So you go back to the company and the boss is furious. They feel like you are useless to the company. The company might refuse to pay you the meagre weekly allowance.
3 reasons why that was a setup that would never succeed:
- Not every intern is interested in sales or marketing or even has the capacity for it.
- Networks have entry barriers. You don’t send a tilapia to a gathering of sharks.
- Nurturing prospects or new leads is a surer bet than competing with that established roadside agent, brick layer or a bigger company.
A lot of people seem to be replicating these same mistakes when they turn to digital platforms. Your company opens shop online and announces that they now have a Facebook page. Each person has to share the links and tag all their family members. They don’t do this once or twice, it becomes an incessant deal. Some join groups where for example, all of us are architects and we think that our market is in sharing flyers under posts that say “sell your market”. Yes, you might get one or two leads but in the long run, these things do not work.
Have you ever come to Facebook and gone looking for services on a Rant HQ comment section or Sahara Reporters news section?
You even start to become a constant irritation with WhatsApp BCs and adding people to groups they didn’t ask to be added to.
This again is as a result of the low risk threshold of many businesses.
The process of nurturing relationships and networks is that you do not get immediate results or the fulfillment of showing your boss how many times you have disturbed people about your business.
One of the most basic marketing principles is what I want to share with you today. It’s described in some literature as collaborative marketing. First, we must see every aspect of the business as part of a huge marketing machine.
From the way the receptionist smiles, to the way you write the content on your pages. Everything must tie into one collaborative effort to penetrate new networks and capture new relationships.
“The process of nurturing relationships and networks is that you do not get immediate results…”
Let me give you a practical example. A few days ago, jonathanoladeji dot come got a brief to develop the brand identity and website of a model. Immediately the job was done, there was some content about the job published on IG. The model gave a great review on their IG of over 170 thousand followers. The followers have been responding to the IG and some are starting to make inquiries which will probably lead to other business.
This is the same experience with other clients. The quality of work delivered to one customer could give you access to one other customer who has access to thousands of networks.
You might then ask, what about when we have no portfolio yet?
Here are a few things you can start to do:
- Stop the spamming of groups with broadcast messages about your new Facebook page.
- Share information. There are 4 basic uses of content which include; to entertain, educate, inform or persuade. If you are not ready for the persuasion stage, then do the others.
- Change your network. One of the first things to do online is to do a social media audit. Ask frank questions about the interests and buying capacity of the regular people on your networks. If they do not fit your buyer persona, then you might need to consider adding new people. This doesn’t mean you need to lose all your old friends but some might have to go.
- Help your team collaborate actively in the marketing effort. Organize webinars and events designed to harness the skills of your team. Make them proud to share something useful from your organization. If you give a free ebook on a housing development or land purchase to 1000 people, there should be at least 10 new customers. Put together a team that can create that.
- Have a strategy to capture new leads. If you have found your collaborative marketing angle, make sure that you have a tool that allows you to get the emails of people who are interested in your company’s area of interest.
There’s a lot more I have shared in my consultation kit, Now The Brand Speaks. However, I think any organization who tries the little I have shared has a better chance of getting real results from the market over the long term. The whole idea is to stop the frenzy marketing. Building a collaborative strategy is going to require the business owner or Oga to roll up their sleeves and actually work the team. This requires risk, skill and planning and a lot of people just don’t have the time for that.
With these few points of mine, I hope you have a great new week chasing down those big sharks and breaking into new exciting networks that will make you some good money. Don’t become Shark food.
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