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I’ve got rats in my belfry

Cooler weather brings everyone indoors, including critters.

Being from New York City, I’m no stranger to having rats, mice, cockroaches and their kin sharing my quarters. I’ve come to recognize that rats can squeeze into very tiny holes when searching for food or shelter, and I typically seal openings into the house as soon as they’re discovered.

So when I heard rats in the ceiling above my home office, I immediately called the HOA into action … only to be told they had a three-week waiting list.

Though these rats have better rhythm than I do, a 21-day rodential rumba festival over my head seemed less than entertaining.

I know… I’m a spoilsport.

The invitation into my home (with a tiny neon sign) was a 1-inch gap between the house and the façade. So I was off to Ace Hardware in search of expanding foam.

Four versions of foam distinguished themselves by the size of the gap they were supposed to fill. Two were appropriate for the job I was managing, but only one listed the word pests as one of the problems it solved.

Naturally, that was the one I bought.

Someone buys from you, figuring you can solve their problem. This suggests that if someone knows you sell what they need, you’re halfway to the sale.

Of course, you still must maintain a top-of-mind presence and may need to overcome issues like pricing, reputation, geography and previous relationship status.

But the fact that you address their specific needs will immediately put you on their shortlist.

Broadcasting the products and services you offer might be as easy as placing a newspaper ad. A steady stream of social media provides focus on one department or product line at a time. Fliers, emails, podcasts and blogs are all useful tools for announcing what you do.

This should all be marketing 101 stuff, right? Develop a relationship, tell folks what you do, and make the sale. Yet it’s scary how many companies assume customers know what they do, and because of that assumption, they lose out on sales.

If you’re already aggressively sharing what you do and who you serve, feel free to ignore everything I’m saying. But if you’re not actively telling your story, you may find yourself looking at your year-end balance sheet and saying, “Rats!”

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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