Some parts of what Steady Contractor does for our customers is to teach them how to get more customers for themselves using methods tried in similar businesses. We summarize what successful large and small firms do, then make these appropriate for very small companies. One of the guideposts in this I learned over 20 years ago.
Every month the Sales & Marketing Executives Vancouver hosted a guest speaker at Breakfast Workshops. As one of the Directors of the SME, I looked after organizing the events: finding potential speakers, interviewing and choosing the good ones, working with the venue owners, catering, publicity and the other people who were key to the success of each event.
When I first took on the role, a number of speakers had already been recruited, after a while I was able to make the choices myself, based on feedback from attendees, and gut feel.
We had 2 distinctively different audiences: sales representatives from large and small businesses, and small business owners. The difference we got in the feedback was quite interesting: sales people often loved the “pump-up” sessions with lots of enthusiasm and rhetoric; business owners who had many other duties to take care of and were looking for techniques and how-to. The businesses that were represented ranged from food wholesalers to software developers.
After a year, I came up with a rule-of-thumb: speakers who based their talks and hand-outs on specifics which could be summarized and repeated.
“Imagine the attendees of your talk have only a filing index card to write on. When someone listens to your talk they jot down a few notes. Then, after your talk, they are so busy networking with their peers, they put the index card into their jacket pocket and forget about it. Weeks later they put that jacket on, find the index card and read the notes. And they can profitably do what was written down – it results in new potential customers. Do you think your talk can do that?”
That was a good step in choosing the speakers. All of our attendees got valuable information and we had to change venues as our Breakfast Workshops grew from 50 to 100 and then to over 200. And that in turn helped grow the membership of the organization.
If Steady Contractor can fine-tune our information for our customers to that kind of useful and repeatable steps, then we are delivering value; and our customers are getting more customers and marketing efficiency.