Running a small business is tough. You don’t have a dedicated marketing team to get the word out, easy access to additional funding, or any of the other perks that come with size. Maybe that’s why 50% of small businesses fail within the first two years of opening according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So how do you launch your small business from the trenches of struggle to the heights of success with limited resources?

Go viral.

Going viral means people are sharing your business with co-workers, friends, family — who are sharing it with their co-workers, friends, family — who are also sharing it.

Source: Pexels

And everyone is sharing it because they want to. Not because you’re spending thousands of dollars on ads or bribing them with freebies.

Going viral means exponential growth and exposure at no additional cost or effort from you.

If that sounds good, keep reading.

What do tribes have to do with it?

While not a fail-proof guide to breaking the Internet, Seth Godin’s Tribes contains some valuable tips on how to build a powerful brand — a key to viral success for any business, small or large. In the book, Godin reframes some basic marketing principles around the concept of tribes.

A tribe is a group of people with a shared interest and a way to communicate. Godin encourages people to make tribes and become leaders because the world needs tribes and leaders to encourage progress and enact change.

For a small business:

  • Leader = You
  • Tribe = Loyal Customers
  • Leader + Tribe = Viral Growth

So how do you attract and lead a group of loyal customers that are so excited about your business that they share it with everyone? Other than providing quality products or services, you need to tell a story.

Good stories make history.

Behind every powerful brand is a powerful brand story. Let’s look at how stories contributed to the success of two renowned brands: Apple (ranked by Interbrand as 2019’s most influential brand in the world) and Disney.

Apple

When Apple first entered the tech scene in the 1980’s, computers were seen as large, mysterious machines used only by governments, scientists, and corporations.

The company’s “1984” ad was not only a landmark moment in TV advertising but also a storytelling-as-branding masterpiece. In just one minute, Apple positions itself and its “personal computers” as the rebel — the little guy against giants like IBM and the “establishment” — who will save the world from an oppressive dystopia.

The computer itself isn’t even shown. But the point is clear, and the rest is history.

Disney

Disney as a brand epitomizes the power of great storytelling.

It does the opposite of most companies. Most companies create products, then spin stories around those products. Disney tells stories, then makes products to fit the stories.

First comes Mickey Mouse, then the figurines, mouse ear headbands and amusement parks. First comes Frozen, then the Elsa dresses, snowflake-shaped candy and skating shows.

It’s a unique approach that has led to great success and which exemplifies the possibilities that open up with great stories.

Source: GIPHY

In a world where attention spans are shrinking and people are bombarded with information from every direction, without a powerful brand you are nothing. And to create a powerful brand you need a powerful brand story.

Get Personal.

You might be thinking — I run a small business. What does Apple and Disney’s large-scale storytelling success have to do with me?

Branding is just as important for a small business as it is for a large one. But with a small business, you are the business. So it’s more about personal branding than anything else.

Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself as a brand. You identify the skills, experiences, and passions that make you who you are as a professional and communicate that in a way that makes people want to work with you.

So how do you create an attractive personal brand? Same way Apple and Disney created industry-changing business brands — tell a good story.

What makes a good story?

Godin gives us two key points.

#1: Good Stories Upset People

Who are you upsetting? If the answer is no one — go back to the drawing board. Powerful stories take a strong stance, and strong stances almost always make someone uncomfortable.

Godin warns against trying to please everyone by diluting what you truly believe in. He stresses that opponents are GOOD. Their opposition strengthens your message and brand.

#2: Good Stories Are Authentic

Have you ever immediately disliked someone because you felt they were being fake? Or the opposite — clicked with a person because of their authenticity. The same goes for stories, brands, and businesses.

Make sure your brand story reflects your beliefs and values. Customers will be able to tell whether or not you’re being genuine, especially in a small business where you interact with them on a regular basis. And no one likes a fake.

It starts with one.

Building a small business can seem daunting, but remember it only takes 1,000 true fans to be successful and much less than 1,000 loyal customers to go viral.

In fact, it starts with one. One person who shares your business with co-workers, friends, family — who share it with their co-workers, friends, family — who also share it.

So tell your story. Create your tribe. What are you waiting for?

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

You’re a real estate expert. You know your city; you know the neighborhood; and you’ve run the comps. But your client just won’t listen. They go on and on about how their great aunt who lives not far from here — maybe thirty minutes — sold her house for $20,000 above the listing price you’re suggesting, and that was 3 years ago. And their cousin sold his for $25,000 above that. And maybe you’re just not the realtor for them.

What do you do?

Do you walk away from the client? Do you argue?

According to George J. Thompson in Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, no. While it is always within your rights to walk away, that should be your last option. And arguing is both unprofessional and ineffective.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get real estate clients to listen, especially when they don’t want to.

Step #1: Stay Calm

Never get upset.

Mushin, which translates to “no mind,” describes a state of being with no ego — no biases. A person in this state is calm and centered. No matter what is happening, she remains undisturbed.

In the book, Thompson says professionals must practice Mushin, especially in high tension situations. He stresses that the moment you show anger is the moment you lose power and any hope of controlling the situation.

Source: Pexels

Step #2: Deflect and Refocus

The two natural reactions to hearing something unpleasant is to grin and bear it or to argue and get sucked in. Neither option leads to a good result when you’re dealing with a difficult real estate client.

Instead, deflect and move forward professionally.

Deflecting phrases include:

  • I appreciate that
  • I’m sorry you feel that way
  • I hear that
  • I understand that

So you might say, “I understand that your great aunt sold her house for more, and I’m sorry you feel that I might not be the right realtor for you…” When deflecting, it’s important to use more than one phrase so you don’t sound abrupt.

After you’ve deflected, it’s time to refocus. The refocusing words are BUT or AND. For example, “… BUT I’m just trying to help you achieve your goal of selling fast.”

When you are deflecting and refocusing, always sound calm and interested; and make sure that everything you say after your refocusing word (BUT or AND) is professional and goal-driven.

Source: Pexels

Step #3: Ask, Explain, and Paint a Picture

Once you’ve refocused the conversation on the goal of your client selling their house, the next steps are as follows:

  1. Ask them to do what needs to be done in order to achieve the goal.
  2. Explain why it’s important.
  3. Present them with their options by painting a clear picture.

In an actual conversation, asking, explaining, and painting a picture look like this:

“Will you let me list your house for $480,000?”

If your client says no or appears unconvinced, add context. Tell them why it’s important they list at $480,000.

“It’s important that we list at $480,000 because that’s the highest you’re going to get in this buyer’s market, and I don’t want to waste your time or have you be disappointed down the line when your house doesn’t sell.”

If your client says no again or is still wavering, present their options.

“If you list at $480,000, you’ll be relaxing in front of the TV in your new home in under a month. If you list for more, you’ll be stuck here for months and will end up saying to me — let’s lower to $480,000. That happens all the time. So let’s list right the first time. You might even be able to move into your new house before Christmas.”

When presenting the options, paint a clear picture and follow this sequence: good, bad, reminder of good. Painting a clear picture helps get your client in touch with the reality of the situation, and sandwiching the bad scenario between the good makes it more likely they will choose the appealing option.

Source: Pexels

Being a realtor can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to help your client but they don’t want to listen. Using these techniques from Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion will help you manage your conversations with clients to help you both achieve the goal of getting their house sold.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help your real estate business here.

“Introducing the Marketing Guide 101: Creating a professional blog.”

Creating a professional blog has become the preferred marketing for many businesses. For modern startups, it has become an absolute must. Of course, starting a professional blog for business is not as easy as one might think. There are many things to consider, such as bringing in traffic, reliability, and networking. Worry not, this blog post will discuss each of these topics.

When starting a professional blog for business, you must think of rhetoric. The goal is to drive traffic to your website/business, so what is the one guaranteed way to have people coming back? Rhetoric is the foundation in which you discover the essence of your business and who you are marketing too. For more tips on Rhetoric, check out our other post, here. For now, this post will simply focus on why you should have a professional blog.

Hot Traffic

Blog posts often convert more customers than dedicated landing pages for paid ads. The reason is that when people go to your blog, they are experiencing a connection with a writer and not a computer. It is important to remember that with blogging the goal is to build a connection with your audience, with the blog serving as a medium. To use blogging effectively, you must leverage search engines and social media.

In other words, continuously publishing new content daily. Publishing daily ensures search engines checking your site regularly for updates, which also means your search traffic goes up, and if your search traffic goes up, there is an increased chance to convert that traffic into customers.

#1 Go-To

Do you know what trait all the most successful business blogs share? Answering the questions that their customers (or potential customers) most frequently ask. The more useful content you publish for your target audience, the likely those prospective clients are sure to come to see you and your brand as the #1 Go-To.

By publishing content in your expertise regularly, over time, you become a reliable resource for your specific industry or niche. And that’s one of the biggest privileges of the internet: you have a chance to compete even with big brands and huge corporations by building trust with your target audience. Becoming the #1 Go-To platform for content also ensures long-term results for your blog.

Connectivity

Having a professional blog with quality articles and an established audience also means attention from other platforms. With the right amount of attention, your professional blog could be headlining the front page. This gives a boost to your article shares if the interviewer shares it with his or her own audience through social media or newsletter.

But, most importantly, having a professional blog allows the opportunity to create genuine relationships with influential business figures, which leads to important new business opportunities and other meaningful connections. That’s why blogging gives a huge boost to your business network.

So, if you are wondering why having a professional blog is important, think of it this way; blogging ensures success for your business and/or platform.

AirSend helps businesses create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.