When I think of sales, of course the used car salesman comes to mind. Then, I remember 2 people I love very much - one aunt and one uncle - sister and brother. Please don't mistake anything I am about to say, these people remain INCREDIBLY important and valuable to me... and very loved. BUT, I remember going to family reunions and other events, and sometimes thinking, oh, PLEASE don't ask me.
You see they both always sold something. I remember for my uncle it was Amway and later some herb thing...the button he had on at the family reunion that said "Ask me about Herbalife" really had an impact on me. Yes, he sold to a few of the family members who were a little more well to do than he. I don't know if they liked the product or just wanted to support him... but they bought anyway. My aunt always sold things via home parties - Tupperware, clothing, whatever. It changed over the years. She is SO social - it really fit her personality. But, at family events she took the opportunity to really push scheduling a party - I know she booked A LOT of them at those events, because we all loved her. I've never really liked being the host of those parties... even though I have hosted a few for her.
While I want my relatives to know what I do, and to use my services, I simply don't want them to think "ugh" when they see my number in the caller ID. I can't do it. Same thing for my friends... you see, whether they use my services or not, they are important to me. They are loved. I need them to know that.
So, when I got into the business, I struggled. My dad, also in business for himself (a builder) was great at using my services and pushing others to do the same. When I was doing my very first transaction, he knew I could do no wrong. Wow - if only everyone had that level of faith. But, I couldn't rely on dad to be my only source of business... especially as the market tanked. I had to find a way to get comfortable marketing to my sphere....and I've found it. Education and resources.
Using the concept that they are important to me and therefore, as their friend in the business, I know it is my job to keep them informed, I am actually able to do some soft marketing to them. I send email campaigns, mailers, and talk to them about the many things in the market they may need to know. As a tagline - almost an afterthought, I add something like "I appreciate your referrals". And, it works - they call me; they refer me; it brings me business.
It took me years to find the right balance. But, I have! In part, this was the result of involvement in the Buffini coaching program - not exactly, but their ideas of giving a thing of value... to me, knowledge is power, and that is that is the most valuable thing I can give. People who love me, even if they'd rather have goofy promo items or heartwarming stories, they know how I feel. They appreciate me for who I am. If I tried to send goofy promo stuff, well, they'd see right through it - it would smell of sales. It'd would be the same as that button my uncle wore.
With this approach, they feel the love, they appreciate the information, they gain trust in my knowledge and consequently, I EARN their business and their referrals. Of course, I remind them that I want their referrals... it's the tagline for everything I send.
I need YOUR referrals, too! So, don't forget me for your Northern Virginia referrals!