By John DeSimone, President, Herbalife Nutrition
Every entrepreneur knows that if potential customers do not know about your services or products, you can become the worst kept secret. One of the keys to creating sales is reaching end-users with the information that you have solutions to meet their needs. As a nutrition company with independent distributors worldwide, we have a front-row seat to learning how our top entrepreneurial distributors creatively and cost-effectively build the buzz to increase their sales. The following are five critical elements that many of our successful independent distributors use to grow their brand, reputation, and business.
Connect to a Larger Community
You most likely live in a community that will value your products or services. It may be rudimentary to sell locally, and to those you know, with a knock on the door, an email sent, or a text. But many distributors expand their reach and grow a successful business by leveraging digital tools. Take stalk of online communities – this can range from your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, to industry groups. Whether starting your business or jump-starting your marketing efforts, begin by reaching out to the people you know and those in your local community through multiple digital platforms, and encourage them to share their positive experience with others. Importantly, make your content easily shareable and interesting, while addressing current widespread consumer issues that your product may tackle.
Engage Your Audience in an Authentic Way
Not everything is a one-size fits all approach. The content you share with your audience should be truly engaging, allowing for your customer’s input along with the ability to share ideas. This exchange can be valuable when you’re deciding on new product launches or creating a promotion. Social media offers so many ways to engage such as polling, quizzes, asking questions, and reactions. Use these tools to learn what excites your customers and consider letting them have input on what your next move is in your business– you’re catering to their needs after all!
Create Word of Mouth Connections
All customers are valuable, but those who become advocates of your products can be especially valuable. A satisfied customer expounding your virtues to their family and friends is a powerful tool. Be sure to thank these gracious customers for their support. If possible, and with their approval, use their quotes on your website or social media. Don’t forget to ask them to write a review on one of the many review online sites. Happy customers build the best buzz because they are doing it from their heart. Reviews today are one of the biggest influences of purchase.
Another powerful method to encourage shareable feedback from satisfied customers is to incentivize referrals. You can provide a discount for every referral shared for your services. Encouraging referrals can be done informally, or you can set up a formalized system for acknowledging and rewarding these recommendations.
While entrepreneurs are focused on building their business, they also need to connect and be active in their community. Whether coaching a sports team, volunteering at a local pet shelter, or sponsoring a booth at a health fair, being an active and visible member of your town or city builds your connections. These community activities allow you to meet new people in a low-pressure environment. Your ability to connect over a shared passion or cause creates an opportunity to provide support without a heavy sales motive.
Having outstanding products or services to sell is just the start of a successful small business. Creating deep connections with your community, growing that group, positioning yourself as an expert and building relationships in meaningful ways allow you to expand the opportunities for people to learn about you, your business, and your products. Building buzz for your business takes time, energy and grit. But many successful entrepreneurs have reaped excellent rewards by growing a network of satisfied customers and advocates.