Small Business Advice: If You Want New Customers, Don’t Sell

by Dawn Fotopulos on June 12, 2012

Sounds pretty crazy, right? If you need new customers, don’t you have to sell to drive revenues? Nope. This is probably the most valuable piece of advice you’ll find on Best Small Biz

It really comes from a great conversation I had with one of my former students, Anderson Ohman. Anderson built a very successful independent real estate company in Palm Beach, Florida.

It took him almost three years to create the relationships that have gained him a great reputation and lots of new, profitable customers.

The five small business tips Anderson gave me can really help you too. Here they are:

Small business tip #1: Approach your potential customers with respect. Don’t look at them as ATM machines. They’re not. They’re human beings just like you no matter how much moeny they have.

Small business tip#2: Your real job is not to sell anything to anyone but to help them become more successful. If you can’t find a way to do that, you’re not adding any value. The potential customer has no reason to buy from you. Add value and you’ll give them a reason to buy.

Small business tip#3: Be a great listener. Peter Drucker said “listening is a discipline”.  It is. Few in western cultures know how to do it well. Ask a question, then wait and pay attention at the answer. All the hidden clues of what the potential client needs is in the answer.

Anderson really gets this and that’s why a young man half the average age of Palm Beach real estate agents is closing so much business.

(The most effective listener I ever met was the former Chairman of Best Buy. He asked great questions, probed on one or two points for further clarification. I loved the guy. I felt my commitment to teaching was recognized and respected. I’ll never forget him.)

Small business tip#4: Timely follow up is crucial. Anderson is a champion of follow up. Nothing ever gets lost, forgotten, overlooked. When someone hires him, he gets the job done. He’s the sleep at night factor. There are few of those around. Busy clients will pay a premium for this. Pay attention.

Small business tip#5: Do it right the first time. Getting the details right will make the difference between your being viewed as a rooky or a pro. Anderson is VERY detail oriented. There is a lot riding on his deals. He trains his staff to get the details right too. That saves him time and his clients real money.

Do you have some small business tips to share with our visitors? Feel free to comment below this article. We’d love to hear from you!

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