As a young person, clients and customers are naturally going think your business is wanksta’ and you have to convince them that it’s gangsta’.
It’s not fair, but you have to give them a reason to trust and hire you. It’s one of the biggest problems that young entrepreneurs encounter and you need to know how to deal wit’ it if you want to have a successful business.
In this post I’ll explain exactly how you can build your street credz (a.k.a “credibility”) as a young business owner and how you can use their lack of trust to make yourself more impressive. I’ve broken ‘em down into offline and online techniqz.
Aight, let’s stop kickin’ it and keep it 100 by getting down to the nitty gritty of how you can get mo’ scratch for yo’ biznezz.
Offline Street Credz
If your customers are actually out on the streets (i.e. in your neighborhood), then there are four things you can do to attract them to your business.
1. Fitted wit’ Threads
When you approach a potential customer for the first time, they’re going to judge your appearance. So you need to look as professional as possible. You need to be reppin’ your nicest shirt, some professional slacks and nice shoes. The more professional you look, the more seriously they will take you.
2. Biznezz Cards
No matter your age or your business, every young entrepreneur needs to have business cards. If someone asks for your card and you don’t have one, you’ll lose credibility. But more importantly, you’re going to be coming across tons of potential customers in your daily life. Make sure you can give them an easy way to contact you.
3. Sick Flyers
In addition to sweet-lookin’ business cards, you need to have fly-lookin’ flyers. If your primary way of marketing your business is with a flyer, poster or door-hanger, that flyer needs to look professional. They will base the quality of your work on the quality of your flyer.
4. Swagtastic Pitch
Your sales pitch needs to be rock solid. You need to walk up to that potential client with confidence knowing that what you’re about to say is going to convince them to give you their business. You need to have a response prepared for every possible objection. The only way to perfect your pitch is to practice it whenever you can.
However, this doesn’t mean you should approach people wit’ yo’ hat turned sideways and yo’ pants on the ground (a.k.a. “arrogantly”). Just know exactly what you’re going to say, how you’ll respond to their questions, and be courteous about it. The same applies for every situation in which you talk to your customers.
Online Street Credz
If you want your customers to find you on the internet, then you have to have a sick online presence. They need to be able to find you and when they do, they need to be impressed. Yo’ skillz need to be drippin’ like a hot, freshly painted e-class that looks like candy.
5. Prada Yo’ Blog
A blog is the most powerful tool a freelancer could ever have, period. As a freelance (whatever), your blog is your storefront. Write about the services you provide, how you provide them and examples of your work. People who are interested in the work you provide will find your site, be impressed, and beg you for your services. If you want to attract customers online, your blog (not just a standard website) needs to be snug.
6. Flossin’ It Wit’ Social Media
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is the best way to connect with people in the world. You need to use it to seek out your clients. If someone tweets, “I’m looking for a freelance logo designer”, you need to be the first to respond with, “I’m a designer. Check out my site, my portfolio and let me know what you think.” They’ll check you out, find a sick lookin’ blog, and ultimately hire you. That’s some of the cheapest marketing in the world.
7. Display Yo’ Kool-aid (Portfolio/Previous Work)
You know what? I’m going to eat my words. A strong portfolio is the most powerful tool a service-provider can have. It’s proof that people have hired you before, that you’ve done a good job and that you want to continue to do a good job.
8. Word Up Wit’ Testimonials
Testimonials validate your work through other people’s opinions. You can say that you provide a quality service, but when other people say it, their word carries a lot more weight. The standard structure for a good testimonial is:
- This is where I was before.
- This is what happened when I hired (your name).
- This is where I am now and “I couldn’t be happier.”
The more testimonials you have, the better.
Use Their Lack of Trust to Make Yourself More Impressive
There’s an old-skool marketing concept that explains that a customer is satisfied when their perceptions are greater than their expectations. How does this apply to you?
Well, when you first approach a customer as a young person, they’re going to have low expectations. This is good for you. When you establish your high-rollin’ street credz, it’s going to blow their expectations out of the water. They’re going to be super impressed because they weren’t expecting much.
Despite the colloquialisms, I hope you take this advice seriously. In most cases you’re at a huge disadvantage simply because of your age. Let’s prove ‘em wrong!
You feelin’ me?
Fo’ shiggidy mah weeble,
G. Money Mikey
Want more G. Money Mikey?
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Photo by: Auré From Paris