I think this is an important issue for many small businesses. It is critical that the business maximizes it sales efforts so that it can grow. I saw this post this morning and wanted to re-post it so I could refer to it as I meet with businesses. ~ Mike
The following post is taken from the blog of Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs: Chris Brogan is one of the country’s foremost authorities on Social Media and its applications for business and branding. Be sure to check out Chris’ incredible blog, www.chrisbrogan.com to learn more about the power of social media and networks to build relationships and deliver value.
Make The Ask by Chris Brogan
I used to be so squeamish about asking for a sale. Now, I’m all for it. Let’s talk about that. I give some takeaway tips at the end.
Let’s use the word “sale” to mean “a request that you do something that benefits me as well as you.” For example, if I were in the religion business (which I am not, directly), my ask might be that you come to my church or that you practice religion in the way my faith practiced. If I’m a nonprofit, my “sale” might be to get your donation or your support or your extension of my information to your networks. “Sale” can be very flexible, so use it the way you want to use it.
In my case, I’m talking about the sales that have dollar signs.
Oh, and I also don’t mean “sale” as in “a discount.”
If You Don’t Ask
A few years ago, I was getting taken out to a lot of “free lunches” so that others could “pick my brain.” One day, it dawned on me: this lunch isn’t free. It’s costing me time. My information isn’t free. It’s taken me years to get it, and the people using this information are making material gain from the advice I give.
I started asking about how consultants dealt with the request for free lunch. Everyone said pretty much the same thing, “I reply back, ‘I’d love to go to lunch. Are you hiring me to consult with you for an hour?’”
Well wait, I’d say. Doesn’t that come off as scammy?
“Who’s scamming who?” My friends would ask me. You’re being asked to give away your advice and wisdom to a company or sole proprietor who’ll then use it to make money, right?
Lunch suddenly stopped being free to any but my friends.
Not a Call For You To Be Mercenary
There are thousands of reasons to offer things for free. I wrote a free ebook called Using the Social Web to Find Work, because so many people are out of work, and I thought I could help. I work with charities every month, because I think giving to causes in both time and advice is a responsibility, not just a nice thing.
Sometimes, you say yes because it’s someone who you just want to help move forward a little. I cherish a dinner I had with Dharmesh Shah, wherein which he gave me much more than I could’ve given him (some time soon for a repeat, D?). So, don’t think I’m advising you to do nothing without making a dime off it.
The road to ruin is littered heavily with people who weren’t giving plenty.
But Make the Ask
People get squeamish when asking for money, or when promoting something of value to their community. If you feel it’s a genuine value to the community, why feel squeamish? You’re providing many services for free. To ask for compensation for certain parts of the value you give away is natural and expected.
Two days ago, I published 50 Power Twitter Tools, a list of 50 pieces of advice for how to get more out of Twitter. In that posts were links to the Thesis WordPress theme (affiliate link). Why? Because I put a lot of work into that post, and it was a way to make a simple ask back: “If you’re in the market for a quality, premium theme, consider buying one from me.”
I’m working on a business blogging ebook, something to help people achieve