If you are like thousands of other entrepreneurs and business owners you know how important it is to get from behind a computer screen and show your face at various networking events. Once there, you connect with a ton of people but not all of them fit your criteria of an ideal client. That’s fine because it’s those people who may turn out to be your most valuable assets in growing your business. How?
1. Initiate the connection
The first step in the process is to initiate the connection and invite that particular person an option to connect with you online. For example, after meeting him or her, take a few moments and send a (personalized) email to each person you interacted with (this is supposed to be a common curtsey but a very few people actually follow up). In the email invite them to follow you on the social media and to subscribe to your newsletter. Be very specific in listing the benefits of doing so and what they can expect (answer their “What’s in it for me?”)
2. Maintain the relationship
Once people become members of your online community, engage with them. There are numerous ways to do so, but these are just a few:
– Share their content on your platforms (of course, give them the credit)
– Tag them in your updates
– Share with them information you believe would be valuable to them and their business
3. Check in
Periodically, every few weeks or months check in with them. Pick up the phone and ask how they have been. Inquire about their business and offer to be their eyes and ears if they’re looking for any specific type of client or project. Do not turn this into a sales call, in fact – leave yourself out of the equation.
“Now how will this benefit my business,” you may wonder. Think about it – how do you feel when somebody checks in and offers to do the same for you? You feel inclined to return the favor, and that person is on the top of your mind for quite some time, right? Well, you’ll achieve the same effect.
Keep in mind that many times the people you meet are not your clients but will more likely become your referral sources.
4. Implement a referral program
People are more likely to refer you if they know there’s something in it for them. You may chose to pay them a fixed referral fee, a certain percentage of a value from the signed contract, or to send them a gift card. The decision is yours.
But first and foremost, the base for any type of working relationship is trust. Building trust takes time so be patient and give before you can ask to receive.
What is your “proven formula”? Share it with us on my Facebook Page.