February 27, 2023
Networking 101: Building and Maintaining Your Customer Base
One of the most integral parts of a business is developing lasting customer relationships. Without quality, strategically built relationships there can be uncertainty and instability in where business is coming from month to month. Here are some simple pieces of advice to use networking as a tool in developing these relationships:
Understand the purpose – to begin relationships – not to sell.?Networking is the first step in a long dance. Don't rush into the selling factor too quickly – focus on creating a relationship that will last long-term. The opportunity for sales will come later.
Attend or host industry events:A great way to find new customers is to get involved in the industry. This might be by attending industry events or even hosting some of your own events. By sharing your experience and getting involved in your industry beyond your business,you'll have the opportunity to grow your connections, as well as your reputation.
Offer referrals.?The best way to begin a relationship is by giving someone something – like a referral. It doesn't cost you anything. If they're the kind of person you want to do business with, they'llreciprocate and a valuable business relationship could develop.
Prepare: Do your homework on the people you intend to connect with if you know them ahead of time and ensure you have some well-thought-out topics of conversation to help move things along. It can also be helpful to know your schedule for the coming weeks to set up later meetings or appointment times.
Keep Networking: Once we are feeling successful, it can be easy to slow down or stop our efforts in networking all together. It is important to make a continuous effort to network to foster business relationships. These relationships can be beneficial at the least expected times – so don't base it all on certain timeframes or goals you want to accomplish.