“Business is as old as life,” says author and entrepreneur Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha, “there is no living being that does not have a business.” Business may be as old as life, but many of us get so caught up perfecting new technology, we forget life’s business basics.
According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), a whopping 59 percent of us believe that the most credible purchase recommendations come from face-to-face, or voice-to-voice interactions. What does this mean for you? If you’re not armed with tangible brand collateral, confidence and a pitch that resonates, you’re missing invaluable opportunities for success.
Invest in Affordable Tools of the Trade
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or you’re trying to get your handmade furniture business off the ground, your business card should be an extension of your hand. Prescott Perez-Fox of Starship design likens your business card to an artifact that everyone you meet can remember you by. A properly designed and distributed card can be the thing that signs your biggest clients. Kyle Laser of Laser printing tells businessinsider.com that he modeled his company’s business card after a Google search result, and he estimates that 10 of his largest clients were signed because of the card alone. The printing business is competitive, and many companies offer unique reasons to print with them: Printing for Less business cards are produced in a tri-certified green way, allowing you to feel good about your mark on the environment.
Be Your Brand: Make an Impression
A study published by “Psychology Today” reveals that more than 80 percent of communication is conveyed through non-verbal means like body language and tone. And, according to businessinsider.com, 55 percent of someone’s opinion of you is based on your overall appearance. What does this mean for your brand and business? You wield the most power in person, so take advantage of it.
- Clothing: You don’t need to be clad in Gucci from head-to-toe, nor should you be sporting a wrinkled T-shirt from your college water polo days. Conservative clothing diminishes the chance of anyone being turned off.
- Eye contact and body language: Posture, eye contact and a strong handshake have the ability to poise you as a titan of industry or a nervous wreck. Sit up straight, look your potential clients in the eyes, and you’ve nailed most of their expectations.
- Tone: Remember that 38 percent of someone’s opinion is based on tone, so find one that resonates. Businessinsider.com recommends you come across as a calm blend of enthusiastic, humble, secure and determined.
Master the Word-of-Mouth Pitch
Face-to-face, or voice recommendations are the most powerful tools for your business, but how do the numbers translate? According to WOMMA, 54 percent (the largest piece of the pie) of purchasing decisions are a direct result of word of mouth. Good-old-fashioned conversation is one of your strongest allies in the business world. In our economy, a good elevator pitch or introduction can seal any deal. An elevator pitch is as much as a science as it is an artform, and if you haven’t perfected yours yet, now is the time. Entrepreneur.com’s Barbara Findlay Schenck breaks down the art and the science of the perfect pitch:
- Take five words to describe yourself, preferably less
- Say exactly what you do in one sentence
- Explain who your target market is
- Paint a picture of your vision
- Practice until your voice is horse
- Now, reduce the whole thing to less than 20 words
Your business might be new, and your online presence might be tailored to perfection, but every business transaction has value. Every new encounter you make has potential. Be ready with the right collateral, poise and pitch, and you can take on the world.