In recent weeks we discussed the importance of networking. Anyone that can refer a client or is in a position to use your product or service is an important contact. We have discussed ways of meeting these contacts and also the best way to communicate with them. I strive to add as many such contacts to my e-mail contact list and encourage them to subscribe to my blog.
There is, however, another group that deserves special attention. I call this group “Specific Strategic Alliances”. They are people that service my ideal client. My relationship building process is much slower; I can’t just call and ask them to send me their client list.
Let me use my own business as an example; Strategic Duck specializes in helping start-up or existing businesses by developing Value Based Strategic Focus Plans and then working with our clients as a coach or mentor. I find that CPA’s and Business Attorneys have clients that can use my services.
Once I have identified several firms that I would like to work with I implement the following process:
- If possible I try to find someone that knows the owner of my target business. Even without a name I find out as much as I can about my target business and then I make a call and invite the owner for a quick breakfast meeting, usually coffee and a muffin. Yes, I have been rejected without an introduction, I then send a follow up letter stating the purpose of my requested meeting was to introduce myself and how I can help them, at no charge, grow their business. Another statement that works is a meeting to get acquainted so I can refer my clients to them.
- After this initial meeting I make an effort to see how I can best help their business. My expertise is in planning, marketing and implementation thus an offer to help them with marketing including giving a presentation to their clients on business marketing is appreciated. My speaking to these clients is an added value that my target business is offering.
- The next step is to see what joint ventures we can do to provide additional clients for both of us, and what other services we can offer together.
- Last, but perhaps most important, is to become a friend. In my experience, friendships that are developed through business are often longer lasting and also cement the business partnership.
This process is not one for those seeking “instant gratification”. There are ways to develop immediate business, and we all use those methods when growing our business; but this is a method for building a more direct and stable source of referrals.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Make it a Successful Today!