Money can't buy one of the most important things you need to promote your business: relationships. How do customer relationships drive your business? It's all about finding people who believe in your products or services. And when it comes to tracking these people down, you have two choices:
You can do all the legwork yourself and spend big marketing dollars. But that's like rolling a boulder up a hill. You want to drive your business into new territory, but every step is hard and expensive. There's another less painful--and potentially more profitable-way...
You can create an army to help you push that boulder up the hill instead. How do you do that? You develop relationships with people who don't just understand your particular expertise, product or service, but who are excited and buzzing about what you do. You stay connected with them and give them value, and they'll touch other people who can benefit your business.
Powerful relationships don't just happen from one-time meetings at networking events--you don't need another pocketful of random business cards to clutter your desk. What you need is a plan to make those connections grow and work for you. And it's not as hard as you think. Here are five essential tactics:
1. Build your network--it's your sales lifeline. Your network includes business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors and association members, as well as family, friends and people you meet at school, church and in your community.
Contacts are potential customers waiting for you to connect with their needs. How do you turn networks of contacts into customers? Not by hoping they'll remember meeting you six months ago at that networking event. Networking is a long-term investment. Do it right by adding value to the relationship, and that contact you just made can really pay off. Communicate like your business's life depends on it. (Hint: And it does! Read on.)