Everyone struggles with growing their business. Having as many customers as I could handle, when I needed them, is a GREAT dream. Right? Yet, that is not the way it happens. Growing a business is a slow process. But still there has to be things that will help that process.
Many businesses work on the principle -the more people you show your product or service to, the more likely that some of those people will become customers.
This concept works the odds. It’s true.
The more people you show your product or service to, the more likely you will find someone to sign on the dotted line. Then, you are told, ‘Move on to the next person’. Because the goal is to get in front of as many people as you can. But wait now you have new customers starting to trickling in. Training needs to be done, but you still gotta make that quota. Let’s face it, there is only so much we can do. Ultimately what happens to all of those new people you have added? They move on to the next best pricing or friend of a friend doing that business. Why? Because of perceived neglect and lack of a relationship.
I love my business it’s about building relationship and I took that to the heart. What I found was growing my business meant growing relationships. Not just with anyone. I work with and build relationships with those people that want help and want to be help. These people can be business partners, collaborators and/or someone to help. Let’s call these people your Strategizing Partners.
What I came to understand, is the key for growth in your business is to grow the relationships that are the most productive. When I realized I had to do my business this way and began sharing this with my customers, business partners, collaborators and mentoree, that is when my business started to grow. It has taken me 4 years to grow into this. Of having a customer base, business partners & collaborators that are loyal and come to me for advice. People who are confident in me to try out my suggestion and giving me honest feedback so systems can be tweaked. Why, because they ‘know, like and trust’ me. I always lead by example. If I wanted to show a business how to grow their business, than I had to be doing what I was teaching.
1. I asked or looked for help
I did not come to all of this realization alone. There were many outside influences. Influences from my business organization, networking groups, leaders, everyday people, books, seminars, articles, etc. Some of these became one of my Strategy Partners.
My Business organization – SendOutCards was instrumental in building the mindset I needed to put positive constantly back into this negative world. 30 day Gratitude Challenge is one of the best examples of this.
The International networking group – BNI, Business Networking International, my regional chapters –BNI MidSouth and especially my local chapter, BNI Business Partners. This local and regional group of 30+ collaborators continually help me and my business to grow and step out of my comfort zone. From strategy partners and other individuals, I have learned how to network & build a network and how to increase touch points with my client base.
There was a local networking group – BOCI, Business Over Coffee International, a different sort of social media platform that helped me hone my leadership skills, my speaking voice and social media skills.
There was a global seminar circuit, – Peak Potential, T.Harv Eckerd, Author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth. One of the most productive reads for me. Seminars where I have learned from top leaders, such as Harvey Mackay, well known business people and from the individuals and families I have meet through this really great seminars. These have to be one of the best learning experiences in my life.
I could go on but the key here was I looked for help from others. Guidance as I struggled not only to learn about having my own business, but how to grow that business and how to grow myself. That is the first lesson I learned, don’t hesitate to ask or look for help.
2. It is not who you know, but who they know
When I decided to go into business I had no network to speak of. I went from a network of zero to one in the tens of thousands. Your thinking, no way she doesn’t know tens of thousand people personally. Yes, you are right. Each and every person knows and influences approx 250 people. It’s about who they know.
How do you network? Here is what I see often: Nelly NoClue comes in and their only thought is I have to get everyone’s business cards. Ms NoClue walks up to an unsuspecting person with a desperate smile on her face. Next thing Mr Unexpected realizes, he is standing in a pile of words, one he hardly can swim out of. Ms NoClue victim gets that classic glazed eyed looked, wildly look for somewhere to hide. You do not want to be that pile of words person.
I never open with my business. Occasionally someone in the know, will catches me unaware. Otherwise, I ask them to tell me about their business. Try to establish common ground and NO matter what business they are in, I DO NOT dismiss them because I think they would never buy my product. I want to build that relationship with that person. Why? Because of the influence that person has with that approx 250 people in their lives. There will be a percentage of those people, that will be someone that wants and needs your services. You just have to build a relationship with the key central person first. This is a system I have build over time that works very effectively for me. Not necessarily fast, but it works.
That was the 2nd lesson I learned, build that relationship with a strategic partner, because it about who they know and who you know that will help or be a great client for them.
3. Give before you receive
One of the most effective ways to build a relationship is to give before you receive. Give to who? Giving is a great touch point with those you are trying to influence or romance -as in romancing a potential client.
Give what you ask? Give something of value. Find some area that they need help with, that they are struggling with and help them with information, connections to someone or consider mentoring if it is an expertise of yours. Barter services, products if you can afford it -though caution here, you can not do business with everyone that you meet and neither can they. I share with my clients some specific ideas for a Added Value Item for their clients. The great thing is this technique works with others you are trying to influence.
That was the 3rd lesson I learned was Giving was an effective way to influence people in my life. By coming from a ‘Giver’s Gain’ position, BNI terminology, I was indeed growing my business. People never hesitate to help those that go out of their way to help them. Give first.
Share a technique that you use to grow your business or share a story about what you did that helped you grow your business.
Are there more techniques? Yes. If you would like to see what a true working Follow Up system looks like, one that changes your prospects and customers into LifeLong Patrons contact us for your complimentary consult. We would love to tell you about my Wing-man technique for networking.
Today was just a sampling of what I do as a Follow up and Building Better Relationship Expert.
Until next time.
Take Time to Live a Life that Inspires You.