MARKET AND PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
By JEFFREY SUSSMAN
comes down to dollars. And the almighty dollar seems
even more almighty if you don't have it.
To get it, you have to increase your
sales and profits. Knowing that is easy. Knowing how
to achieve that result is not so easy.
Here's an example of how to market and
promote one's business to the real estate community. Let's
say you're an interior design firm, and you have been knocking
on doors trying to drum up business. You get a few prospects,
but an even smaller number of them turn out to be clients.
You make deals with leasing agents and building managers,
but so does everyone else, and the competition is fierce.
Raising the ante of incentives can make you feel as if you
need an ever-faster revolving line-of credit. Taking from
Peter to pay Paul just makes you a conduit for the passage
of money, not the final recipient of it.
You need to do something new, something different,
something that will set you above your competition. Here is
what I would do: first, I would write a case history for a
real estate publication in which I would explain how an interior
design company can make a building more attractive by redecorating
its public areas; I would use specific examples about how
such techniques have been used in a variety of buildings to
attract new tenants and reduce the vacancy rate. Once the
article appears, I would make reprints of it and mail it,
with a covering letter, to building owners and operators.
After ten business days, I would call each of the recipients.
I would try to set up as many appointments as possible for
my client. Once, I bad scheduled appointments, I would script
a presentation; and in the case of an interior design company,
I would include visuals. What is the result of such a procedure?
Voila! New business.
There are, of course, other sources of business for
an interior design company, and it is essential to identify
as many marketing targets as possible. Another target, for
example, might be showroom tenants. After all, my client has
some expertise in designing showrooms for garment tenants.
I would build on that expertise and write an article about
how my client helped several showroom tenants improve their
images and so increase business. The article would have specific
remarks from the tenants to justify my client's thesis. Again,
once the article appeared, I would mail reprints of it to
all local garment tenants who have showrooms and are in the
same business as those tenants mentioned in the article. I
would follow the same steps used in the earlier example.
This technique works for a wide variety of
companies; but, before you begin, you must identify your market.
If you do not, you may be aiming at the wrong target.
If, let's say, you own an environmental assessment
company, you will want to promote yourself not only to building
owners who will need your services if they are to refinance
their buildings; but also to mortgage bankers who provide
money not only for refinancing, but for initial purchases
as well. Faced with a herd of instant environmental experts,
many mortgage bankers cannot tell a sensible and realistic
assessment from one that had the collaboration of a Willy
Sutton who knows where the money is and only wants to get
his hands on it.
Such people make mortgage bankers very nervous.
And for good reason. To help them out of their quandary, I
would write an article for my client that explains how one
can evaluate an environmental assessment. I would eliminate
all technical jargon, tell them what to look for, and what
questions they should ask. The article would be placed in
an appropriate banking publication, reprints would be made,
and it would be mailed, with a covering letter, to a list
of mortgage bankers. Again, there would be follow-up phone
calls, appoints for my client, and a presentation script for
those meetings. I would also have prepared brochures, so that
my client can leave promotional materials with prospective
While many brokers and others are certainly
intent on making deals, they do very little to market and
promote themselves. Indeed, the majority of them do nothing
but make cold calls and knock on an endless series of doors.
It is the same technique employed by roulette players: it
takes many turns of the wheel to hit a jackpot. Whether one
uses a public relations professional, or takes advantage of
one's own creativity, one should develop a marketing public
relations program that will be effective in producing results.
Not to do so means that one will be an "also ran."
And if you're not a triple-crown contender, you will only
run with the pack, not ahead of it.
Jeffrey Sussman is president of Jeffrey Sussman,
Inc. a marketing public relations firm in New York City. He
is the author of the best-selling book, Everybody Wins! and
teaches marketing at The New School University.