From the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

Books on how to catch Mr. or Ms. Right using marketing strategies may have hearts skipping a beat, but they do little to ease the qualms of an entrepreneur. For those who have much more at stake than a broken heart, help is on the way. Jay B. Lipe, author of The Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses: Tips, Techniques and Tools to Improve Your Marketing (Chammerson Press), turns the tables and shows how countless hours spent perfecting one-liners can actually come in handy. Simply put, if you're good at the dating scene, marketing your small business can be a cinch.

  • Pucker up.
  • Get customers to run back for more by offering small and enticing samples. "'Putting out' can score big returns later on," says Lipe. And if customers are responsive to this first nibble, Lipe recommends "trying to go to second base with your prospects" by offering up-sells they can't refuse.
  • Meet the parents.
  • It's that dreaded first encounter with the one person who stands in the way of a potential sale. Whether it's a mother selecting the best cereal for her children or a CFO approving a purchase order, don't look for easy ways out. Says Lipe, "In the world of business, eloping just isn't an option."
  • If you've got it, flaunt it.
  • Don't be afraid to flaunt your goods and strut your stuff. As Lipe points out, "The entrepreneur has to show off the company assets it's most proud of."

Only after successfully wooing the customer can an entrepreneur attend to more trivial matters of the heart.