Online dating and running a business have a lot in common – and I don’t mean because there’s a risk of being inundated by d*ck pics and catfished.
When I say online dating and running a business have a lot in common, I actually mean it as a very positive thing. Many people have become cynical about online dating – I know, it can be frustrating – but I’m actually a big proponent of meeting people online; it’s how I met my husband (thank you, OkCupid!)Not too long ago, I discussed the similarities between attracting new customers to your business and finding a partner virtually in a Facebook video. I think it’s a really fun topic for business owners to consider. I’d like to expound on a few thoughts I have about the similarities between the two, in addition to some new ideas I’ve had since shooting the video.
First Impressions Matter
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. I’ve never used the app myself, silly me I want to learn about someone beyond what their face looks like…
Tinder might seem foreign to a lot of us, but if you look at the current online climate, 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. You can wax poetic about what it means about society at large all day, but one thing is clear: People want to receive information in short, sweet and fast little bursts.
As a business owner, this means that first impressions are more important now than they ever have been before. Most companies have always understood the importance of branding, such as creating a powerful logo, but many companies never felt the need to create a truly extraordinary first impression before. If you want your business to succeed in today’s landscape, you need to be able to really push your message in one glance. This means the right logo, the right colors, and succinct marketing text that says what you want to say in less than 2 seconds (easy, right?)
Pushiness and Desperation? Never A Good Look
Have you ever initiated conversation with a prospective match, only to have them bombard you with messages at every hour of the day? While they might have seemed like they had great potential when you first swiped right, now they just seem pushy and desperate.
This little gem of a life lesson also applies incredibly strongly to running your business, specifically when it comes to marketing online.
A friend of mine recently gave her information to an online company that specializes in paying people for their used laptops. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to ditch her four-year-old Macbook, but she was toying with the idea. Instead of just sending her one reminder email and then waiting for her to get back to them, the company in question sent her dozens upon dozens of emails with a downright melodramatic sense of urgency. “I actually have decided to sell it, and now I’m going to go through any company but them,” she remarked.
The bottom line? Desperation isn’t a good look. Not for a single person trying to find love online, nor for a business. It’s a good idea to market yourself with strong, compelling text and interesting strategies. But if you bombard clients, customers, or prospective love matches with message after message, the only date you’ll have will be with their block list and a Netflix binge.
Sales – And Dates – Don’t Always Happen Immediately
It’d be nice if, when online dating, we could skip the banter and go straight to the part where we’ve found happiness and love. But this isn’t la-la land and we need to get to know people before we’re ready to commit to the first date.
In business, it’d be great if we could make the sale almost immediately after introducing our brand to our potential clients or customers. 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. However, as stated in my last point, you can never be pushy. Instead, just as with online dating, you need to woo.
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. Ultimately, the key is to present the best version of yourself possible, but never to overload your potential client… or romantic interest. Know when to step back and walk away for a bit. I promise that people won’t forget about you.
Some Final Thoughts
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, pushy or intrusive. Make a stellar first impression and then, if you have to, step away. If you follow these tips, you can knock it out of the park in both your professional and personal life.