This post has been adapted from my book, Unlocking the Small Business Game, just for this blog.
Have you ever heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?
The key to this principle is this: People will believe what others say about you more than what you say about yourself.
You might not be able to get a list of stellar testimonials to carry around with you. And to be honest, unless you're in business, you would silly doing it. You can, however, still use a people’s names. Not in an illegal fashion, but you can mention these people or a person during conversations.
Dropping names correctly and at the right time can almost completely break down the wall of doubt people have about you and even your business (if you have one). When people find out that you associate with people they already know and trust, they are more likely to trust you as well.
Trust is always an issue so let’s look at this strategy in action.
Before we begin let me set up the scenario for you. We have a man named, Michael. He’s a Hustler (business man) and he is going around talking to business owners, managers and employees in the area.
Mrs. Johnson is a fairly well known and respected business owner in the area Michael is in. She’s also a regular customer of Michael’s.
Michael walks into a nearby office and introduces himself and asks to speak to the owner or manger. The manager comes out and Michael goes on to make his regular introduction:
Michael: Hello how are you doing today? My name is Michael and I am in the area just to hand out some flyers and business cards. I just wanted to leave some for you and your employees if that’s acceptable. Can I ask your name?
Manager: Nice to meet you, my name is Jeff.
Michael: (Shaking hands) Nice to meet you too. I won’t take up too much of your time I just wanted you and your employees to know what I do. I am the owner of, Right Time T-Shirts and Lids. I offer high quality T-shirt and sports caps for low prices in the area. Can I leave you with some flyers? There’s a coupon on it that gives all first time buyers a discount just for trying me out.
Jeff: (Hesitant) Well, I guess so.
Michael: (Hands over some flyers to Jeff) If you could please put these somewhere where your employees can see them I would appreciate it. Or with your permission I can hand these out myself. (Before giving Jeff a chance to respond) By the way do you know Mrs. Johnson who owns the, Tiny and Tidy Day Care around the corner?
Jeff: Oh yes, Mrs. Johnson. A few of my employee’s children go to that Day Care.
Michael: Oh really? She’s such a sweet lady. We talk all the time, have you ever met her?
Jeff: Sure a few times, she does seem pretty nice. She’s had the Day Care up there for about 10 years I was told.
Michael: That’s what she told me. I hope to be in business that long myself! We’ll see how it goes (laughs). Anyhow, she’s a really good customer of mine so some of your employees would probably like to get some quality T-Shirts and sport caps like she does.
Jeff: (An obvious change of attitude) Well, I guess so. So what kind of T-shirts do you carry and how much are they?
This is just one of dozens of ways to use association. You must understand that when using association that you should always use names of people who are generally liked and respected in the social circle or area you’re in.
How about using the name of someone also in your line of business that people know and respect? You can associate your name with theirs and literally build your own reputation off of their reputation (if they don’t mind that is).
Association is extremely powerful. Why do you think big companies spend millions on celebrity and athlete endorsements? These companies want to associate themselves with these big names and build up the image of their brand, product or service.
This is the same technique on a smaller scale. If you take your time to think about how to use this, its possibilities are almost endless. Peep Game.
Keep it moving and keep it simple.
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