Jewelry stores shine bright lights on their business. Think about it--ever been in a jewelry store where the lighting was dim, and you could barely find your way around? That's highly unlikely.
Same goes for car dealerships. Visualize a dealership showroom. Notice how the ceiling spotlights make the cars look as new as they really are.
This leads me to a question: How well are you spotlighting your business?
Consider these four suggestions for illuminating who you are and what you offer:
1. Display testimonials from satisfied clients
In the year (or by now it seems like years) of an American presidential race, we get constant reminders of the power of highly credible endorsements. A news headline declaring that a prominent person "has thrown his support to. . ." catches attention and sways votes. Candidates boost their credibility by relying on the credibility of respected leaders.
What's true in politics is true in business. Whenever a person of integrity says publicly that you are the "go to" business, you'll experience a spike in sales.
In our age of advanced technology, I urge you to arrange brief video interviews with your most articulate customers. While written kudos still carry impact, think how much more even a two-minute video compliment jet-propels your product or service.
The content is simple. An interviewer begins, "Barbara, you have made your business travel arrangements through our agency for fifteen years. Please take a minute or two to tell us what advantages our agents have provided for you."
2. Participate in your community's most reputable causes
People prefer to do business with individuals and corporations who support their community. Possibilities for volunteer involvement:
United Way fund raising
Your local hospital's auxiliary
Serve on the board of a local college
Coach a Little League team
Attend Chamber of Commerce functions
Affiliate with a civic club, and accept a committee assignment
Enjoy breakfast or lunch where "movers and shakers" gather
One important caution: Your involvement in community organizations and events must combine your quest for publicity with a genuine, heartfelt desire to help others. Hollywood has laughed about the statement, "Sincerity is vital, and we'll get by as long as we can fake sincerity." That shallow approach doesn't work outside of Tinseltown. Most of us can spot hypocrites quickly.
So a relevant tip: In selecting where you are going to devote your volunteer time and dollars, choose only the groups you are naturally enthusiastic about.
3. Select, train, and keep Ambassadors, not merely employees
Herb Kelleher, the man who made Southwest Airlines famous, said: "Southwest's communication--its message--is its people. Southwest has 25,000 employees spreading the word as missionaries."
Wow, that's powerful stuff. Kelleher prompts me to ask, "Are your employees your missionaries?"
Truly, putting this bright light in place is a three step process:
Select only those who will represent you well
Train them constantly, to keep their dedication and skills at the highest level
Keep only those who display a missionary-level zeal, and reward them appropriately
4. Remain on the lookout for better spotlights
Imagine this: If a jewelry store owner heard about a lighting system that would replace the current system and make the showcases 25% brighter, you can be sure she would write a check for the new system right away. Likewise, there are numerous books, CDS, and videos available to help you spotlight your business more effectively.
Consider giving yourself assignments, such as reading two books a month, attending three seminars a year, hiring a coach, earning a degree, achieving professional certification, and affiliating with others who express high aspirations.
The more you invest in professional development, the brighter the spotlight on your business will become.