Often I get clients that confess to me that they aren’t happy with joining a local chamber or women’s business association because they haven’t gained any business referrals. The first thing that I ask them is how much time had they invested in relationship building with key people who could help grow their business. The usual reply is they attended a couple of networking events or they try to attend occasional monthly association meetings but no real involvement!
Well, don’t expect people to become warm and fuzzy with you if they don’t know you OR in business terms… don’t expect them to buy or promote your products or services if they don’t know YOU!
People buy from people who they know and trust! Let me REPEAT; people (the folks that could be helping you in the growth of your business) buy (your product or service) from people they know and trust (you)! One of the most important points that I convey to my clients is NOT to expect business referrals if they haven’t spent time massaging relationships!
Here are 4 smart tips for YOUR business success:
Smart Tip 1:
Stay in Front of Customers, its Key!
Find innovative ways to keep your business at the forefront of your customers. Whether you are sending links to articles or blogs, a weekly empowerment quote, a monthly e-newsletter filled with updated information about your company, great deals or tips they can use OR regular correspondence like birthday, thanksgiving or Christmas cards, they will remember to call you when they need your services.
Give customers the opportunity to experience your product or service.
Have local media take a look behind the scenes of your company. Let them spotlight how you interact with your clients. Make sure it is news worthy! Getting in the news is a great way to gain free exposure.
Smart Tip 2:
Get Out and Network
As you network, consider how you can be a benefit to people, who could benefit from your products or services and what type of businesses could compliment your company. Forming relationships with these types of businesses could play a key role in your marketing strategy. Think of it as hiring a sales staff to go out and promote your products or services. So, if your niche includes providing services to insurance agents, you should align yourself with independent agents (Alfa, State Farm, Allstate or Farmers Agents) because many local businesses are branches to a larger distribution channel. You never know who you will meet!
Network is King! Get involved with your local chamber of commerce to network with local businesses. This is a great way to attract new customers and increase YOUR brand awareness. REMEMBER: you must spend time getting to know people and building relationships!
Target Industry Leaders: This is a must! You need to make it YOUR business to get in front of the right people, and get to know decision makers.
Smart Tip 3:
Stay True to Your Core Mission and Values.
As a successful and growing company, you may have to make operational changes to remain competitive and successful, but remember the reasons that you went into business and always maintain a high level of integrity. Your company’s mission and values should always remain intact! This will result in a strong brand identity.
Smart Tip 4:
Work/Life Balance Tips
As a business owner, it is imperative that you keep a ritual in your life. Whether it’s taking an hour for girlfriend time, practicing yoga or some form of meditation, reading a good book or out to lunch with your spouse, it is important to STEP AWAY from your laptop and blackberry and take time for yourself, everyday!
Written for w2wlink.com by Syvlia Browder.
Sylvia Browder currently works as a Project Director, business coach and consultant for a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses. She also serves as a volunteer SCORE counselor, an organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. She can be contacted at email@example.com.