In our interview with Sales Strategist, Gina Kaelin-Westcott, we discussed the importance of building relationships to grow our businesses. Technology has added to the ways that we can make and maintain connections. Here are few of the ways we can pursue relationship-building:
Target market focused events
If you are selling residential lighting fixtures, it would be great to be an exhibitor at a home improvement expo. This environment attracts the people who would be potential buyers, both individual home owners and contractors who may buy your product in bulk. While it is important to have a knowledgeable person at your booth, it is equally important to go around to the other exhibitors and forge relationships with suppliers of products who cater to the same target market.
Industry networking events
If you work in the area of environmental protections, you may want to be a member of an organization like the Rocky Mountain Association of Environmental Professionals. Attending events with other people in the same field will increase your chances for qualified referrals and leads to job opportunities. In addition, it can help you stay on top of news and current events related to your field.
Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce? This is a great place to start. Their main focus is helping businesses grow and succeed. Everyone who is involved has the same goal in mind and it is usually provides fertile ground for cultivating relationships. People prefer to work with someone who they know. Networking at a local organization increases the chances for overlap between your business and personal life, increasing your exposure.
Local online groups
If you have a hard time getting out to in-person events, there is no shortage of local interest social and professional groups online. You can go a long way in making a positive impression about your strengths and abilities without blatant self-promotion. Many times business relationships begin with brief conversations about local concerns and develop into something more.
Think tank groups
This is a great place to make your mark. When you are part of a think tank group, the other members will expect great things. You have a unique opportunity to share breakthrough moments and ask for advice with optimal results. If selected correctly, these groups will contain thought leaders in your industry who could potentially provide you with business leads for year to come.
Purely social media
While social media channels can be used to promote business, they also serve as a door into the lives of potential clients. When you are trying to get into a certain organization or to contact an individual decision-maker, put Google to work. If they have a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest account, scour its content. If your director likes fishing, send him occasional articles on fishing. If the HR manager loves cake decorating, send her photos of fabulous cakes. Use these personal expressions that are shared publicly to grab their attention.
These are just a few of the ways you can cultivate relationships to grow your business. Whether in-person or online, you have a great opportunity to make a positive impression and show off your expertise and potential. Relationships are indeed key to the success of any business.