OPEN Forum: There was a moment as you [Michael Port] started your own business when you realized that clients wouldn’t just come to you—and that you had to be more proactive. What’s your top advice for anyone facing that same challenge?
Michael Port: “It’s never as simple as flicking a switch, or identifying a single thing you need to do to get more clients. I believe very strongly that no matter how proactive you are in your marketing activity, marketing alone will not get you clients.
I know it sounds like sacrilege, but it’s true. Marketing just builds awareness about your products and services. When your prospects have been made aware of what you have to offer, you’ll have an opportunity to showcase your credibility and earn their trust. Once trust is established, it’s appropriate to make sales offers that are proportionate to the amount of trust that’s been earned. You don’t do this by hard pitching, but by striking up relevant sales conversations with the right people.
That said, the simplest way you can be more proactive in creating awareness about your business is to cultivate your relationships thoughtfully and thoroughly. If you’re not a great user of social media, or if you don’t like speaking, writing or buying ads, then there’s little point in trying to be proactive in those areas. You need to choose strategies that you’ll actually enjoy doing.”
Read OPEN Forum’s full interview with Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, on how to to build a business that’s booked solid.