Small businesses are a lot like countries; they both need ambassadors. Did you think you're too small for that? Not so fast. Even if business is booming why wouldn't you want people looking out for you and spreading the word? After all, that's what ambassadors do and if you don't already have them it's not so tough to find them.
Here's a few steps to get you started on the way to raising your visibility without leaving the office:
Identify Your Expectations:
You need to determine just what you want your ambassadors to do for you. Are they looking for suitable prospects? Are they delivering a product or a service message? Before you can engage a prospective ambassador you must know just what you are asking them to do for you.
It's About Them, Not You:
In the long run an ambassador can and will do good things for you but remember, they are the ones doing the work. Your goal is to make it as easy and as seamless as possible for them to meet your goals.
I ask my ambassadors to identify prospective clients in this way: if you meet a small business owner who is expressing angst about unresolved challenges, suggest they may want to speak to me. Such business owners are good prospects; not only do they have issues I can assist them with but they know they have a problem and they aren't afraid to admit it (a necessary prerequisite to the coaching relationship).
Provide the Script
Whether you are asking folks to address others face to face or virtually, provide the script so that they don't have to do the work. If you're asking that an event be shared through social media provide a link that goes directly to the action and sign up location. Don't ask your ambassadors to come up with a catchy introduction- provide it for them. If it's a face to face encounter you envision make it easy for them to deliver the goods (see It's About Them, Not You).
True ambassadors are not people you meet on the street. A true ambassador is a trusted individual who knows you and what you do. When you ask someone to be your ambassador, remember they'll be serving as an extension of yourself and your business. The decision to take on this role belongs to them. If a person agrees to be an ambassador under duress neither you nor they will be well served.
Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later:
Whether or not to compensate an ambassador for their efforts is a matter of personal preference. In my experience, financial compensation does not generally lead to a good outcome; in fact I don't go there at all (anymore). There is another means of demonstrating appreciation and that is to offer your services in return. I use this technique I've found that it further strengthens the bond and commitment between my ambassadors and myself.
If you are currently surrounded by ambassadors, congratulations. If not, you can see it's not a tough thing to do. The rewards are worth the effort.