Anyone with young children knows the challenge of working from home. Mondays are my mommy day and most of time I focus on my girls. Some Mondays, though, I just need a few hours to focus on my business.
Not easy to do when there are books to read, games to play, pictures to draw and about 100 other things to do that are more fun than working.
“Work at Homers” get pretty crafty about scheduling their work time around life but some projects just can’t wait.
You do what business owners do when they meet a challenge they can’t solve alone. You get help!
The next time you hire someone to help you solve a problem, whether you’re actively seeking them or they simply appear, pay attention. They may teach you a thing or two about your own business.
Take my cousin Ally for instance. She’s a college student and gets along famously with my girls. She’s also a great example to remind us how to market ourselves from the heart.
DIVE DEEP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
Because Ally is a relative, she knows me and my family well. She knows that parents need help taking care of their kids. She knows that my girls love to sing and dance (which Ally loves to do too). She knows that can’t get enough of the “Sound of Music”. She knows how her own experience and skills can help me with my particular challenge of needing 100% focus to get something done.
We have a relationship with each other, and because of that relationship, I’m guessing that Ally instinctively and naturally saw an opportunity to offer her babysitting expertise. She started offering her help when my oldest was only 3-months-old. That doesn’t mean I said yes the first, second, third or twentieth time she offered. In fact, it’s taken me more than three years to finally accept her offer (more on that later).
As a business owner, you’ve likely heard the mantra “know your audience”, right? But knowing your audience is more than simply identifying a market or group. It’s establishing a foundation, getting to know them, establishing trust and growing a healthy relationship. When you know the specific needs, desires, wants, interests, habits and behaviors of your ideal customer; that’s when you click with each other. Ally reminds us that bonding is the basis for a strong relationship. Make and maintain a deep connection with your customers so they’ll choose you when they’re ready to buy.
GET PAST NO
Sometimes “no” means “not right now”. With Ally, I never actually said the word no, but I didn’t exactly jump at her offer. My needs were different at the time and, when it came to watching my kids, I was only ready to commit to my mother or my mother-in-law.
Sometimes we business owners get tripped up on “no”. We take it personally or we think that “no” means “never”, or that a lack of action means lack of interest. It took me over three years to ask Ally to watch my kids. How did she get me to finally say “yes”? She kept offering. Every time she saw me, she’d always say “just let me know if you ever need a babysitter.” She said it from the heart. No pressure, no haranguing; just a simple reminder that she was interested, available and ready to help when I was finally ready to accept her offer.
Sometimes we worry about being too sales-y so we don’t offer our services or products as much as we should (I struggle with this too). Sometimes “no” can turn into “yes” when you check your ego, have patience and keep offering your heart-felt help [Click to Tweet].
SEIZE YOUR MOMENT!
Life changes, right? Lately I’ve been struggling a bit with work-life balance. I would try to work for a few hours on Mondays while the kids played in the background. That would last about 20 minutes and then they (rightfully) wanted my undivided attention. When they were occupied I’d race through as much work as I could because I knew my time was short. In the end, it’s a no-win situation for everyone.
Then I remembered Ally. Maybe she could help me out for a couple of hours on Mondays. The kids would have someone new to play with and I could focus on my work. But when I asked her about her availability Ally said she was in class until 3 p.m. and could help after that. Not ideal. I thanked her for offering to help in the afternoons and told her I’d call her if I needed her.
But then something happened. Ally intuitively realized I was looking for help in the morning. Lucky for me, she spoke up. She had a three-hour gap between her early morning class and her afternoon class. Exactly the hours I needed!
So when the perfect customer who you thought lost interest suddenly appears, you’ll build their trust and earn their loyalty quickly when you anticipate and meet their needs from the get-go.
Marketing is becoming a marriage between businesses and customers. What do you do in your business to nurture the love? Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.