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Attracting Business With the Right Personality

Creating the business personality that leaves a lasting impression

During my youth, my parents taught me that what matters most in this world is what we do, not what people might think of us. However, as entrepreneurs, our reputations deeply affect our livelihoods. To succeed, all our business interactions must leave a positive impression and provide exceptional results.

"I know them. They do the right thing for their customers" is a magical phrase to any entrepreneur's ears. To establish and maintain this kind of trust with your customers, you must develop a personality for your business that attracts people's attention. For example, if you're an accountant fluent in tax code, you should stress this particular expertise in all your business communications, making it part of your business's personality.

A positive personal connection begins when you let your customers know you have their best interest in mind. Make it simple and worthwhile for people to get to know you and your business with these strategies:

1. Clearly define the results people achieve from purchasing your product or service. You are not selling to everyone, so personalize your business story by focusing on the specific results you help others achieve. Whether you are the most reliable consultant or a frugal caterer, word-of-mouth from satisfied customers gives you credibility. Because people will have a direct understanding of the value you provide, they will be more willing to buy your product or service.

2. Show people that it works. Develop success stories and testimonials that demonstrate the results your product or service provides. Highlighting benefits reduces consumer hesitation and fear about purchasing from you. Use these narratives in your marketing materials and in conversations to accentuate your message. Establish an immediate personal connection by using testimonials from people with backgrounds similar to your customers'.

3. Frequently use words related to your uniqueness. Every time you refer to or demonstrate a particular strength, it becomes more embedded in your customer's psyche. For instance, simply sending periodic e-mails updating your customers on the latest trends within your industry solidifies you as an expert and increases their trust in you. This kind of routine contact keeps your business fresh in people's minds and inspires them to share their experience with other potential customers.

4. Tell people you love what you do. People often speak from their heads rather than from their hearts, but speaking with passion immediately personalizes your business. It's inspiring to hear someone speak with affection about their goals and ambitions. When you are enthusiastic about what you do, people know you will work hard to deliver on your promises.

5. Connect with your community. Cultivating your business relationships reinforces your stature in your community and increases the number of referrals you receive. Expand your reach by aligning with other businesses and organizations that serve your customers. A simple recommendation from another business owner or from a member of an organization your customers respect makes your business stand out from your competition. Depending on how much time you have, volunteer at local events, join the chamber of commerce or donate items to local charities.

6. Spread the friendship by rewarding those who conduct business with you. A customer's positive feedback is the greatest personalized asset that exists. Routinely thank your best customers so they know you appreciate them. A handwritten thank-you card, small gift or discount coupon is always a wonderful surprise and enhances your business personality.

Speaker and consultant romanus wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.

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This article was originally published in the February 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Personality Test.

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