Many people have become cynical about online dating, but I’m actually a big proponent of meeting people online. it’s how I met my husband (thank you, OkCupid!) so when I say online dating and running a business have a lot in common, I actually mean it as a very positive thing.
Not too long ago, I discussed the similarities between attracting new customers to your business and finding a partner virtually in a Facebook video. Here are a few of the basics:
How You Introduce Yourself Matters
One of the biggest similarities between online dating and business is the concept that first impressions matter. The best example of this would be Tinder, a dating phone app where users literally make a decision within seconds before “swiping” in either direction for yes or no.
Tinder might seem foreign to a lot of us, but if you look at life today, its existence makes perfect sense. We live in a world where people communicate in 140-character Tweets and snapshots of their lives sent in warp-speed via Instagram or Snapchat. What this means for society as a whole is an entirely different post in and of itself but one thing is clear: people want to receive information in quick, short, easily consumable bursts.
As a business owner, this means that first impressions are more important now than they ever have been before. You have about two seconds to impress someone using the right colors, images, font, and words – easy right?
Not only that, but you have to be TRUTHFUL in your introduction - if you say you can make someone $10k in one month, you better mean it. The internet is a big place, but it's not that big, so if you're lying (whether it's about your weight or the success of your clients), word WILL get around and people will realize that you’re just using a great angle to cover up the fact that you actually have warts.
Desperation never works
Have you ever initiated conversation with a potential match, only to have them bombard you with messages at every hour of the day?
10:13am - Hey...
10:14am - U there?
10:18am - I miss you...
10:23am - Are you mad at me?
10:25am - Fine, whatever. I'm done..
10:33am - Hello?
This little gem of a life lesson also applies incredibly strongly to running your business, specifically when it comes to marketing online.
When I started my business, my first handful of clients came easily to me... Seriously, my very first client e-mailed ME the day after I tossed up a poorly put together "work with me" page on my frugal-living site.
But then I had to actually start working at it. Crazy, right? However, I noticed that the harder I pushed, the fewer calls I was booking. So I took a step back, had a glass of wine, and said "You know what? If she wants to work me, she'll call..."
And guess what?
If you're running on fumes right now, feeling as though you're putting your all into marketing yourself, developing content, building networks, etc. etc. then STOP.
Take a breath, put down the phone, and allow yourself to "turn off" for a day. Know that people won't forget you, your business will not crumble, and you will be all the better for TRULY believing that if they want you, they'll call.
Desperation isn’t a good look in any aspect of life. Not for someone trying to find love online and certainly not for a business.
It’s a good idea to market yourself with strong, compelling text and interesting strategies, but if you bombard clients with message after message, most of them less-than-stellar, your readers will be hitting "unsubscribe" faster than Ashley Madison tried to hide them lady-bots.
It's not all about scoring
It’d be nice if, when online dating, we could skip the banter and go straight to the part where we’ve found our forever love. But this isn’t la-la land and we need to WOO people before committment even approaches the table.
In business, it’d be great if we could make the sale almost immediately after introducing our brand to our potential clients. While this will occasionally happen, especially if you have stellar marketing materials, most of the time you have to woo them a bit first. This means creating a relationship with a potential customer before they’ve committed to a sale.
As any experienced coach/strategist knows, it's important to make sure BOTH people (the client AND the coach) are a good fit for each other - when one tries to force it, both end up disappointed. So take the time to woo each other.
Wooing can sometimes entail backing off a bit. Sometimes after making your pitch, you need to back off and let the customer chew on your offer for a few days. It can be difficult to sit and wait in business purgatory, but backing off and exercising patience can have a spectacular payoff.
Know when to step back and walk away for a bit. I promise that people won’t forget about you.
Dating and Running a Business - Which is easier?
I’ll admit it, sales and business can both be tricky. When you’re hunting for what you want, be it that great sale or new love interest, it’s easy to become frustrated and appear desperate.
At the end of the day, success in both of these arenas boils down to you putting your best face forward and being careful to never come off as desperate or vulgar. Make a stellar first impression and then let things progress naturally from there. Whether you're dating, running a business, or both - sometimes you have to be willing to wait it out and let those good ones find you.
So what do you think - is running an online business easier than finding a soulmate?