April 22, 2011
Your business is built through connections. The more people that know, like and trust you, the more people will recommend you. So where should a business begin?
You’ve basically got two main options:
1. Throw a lot of money into marketing.
2. Throw a lot of time into making a great business that generates referrals.
Since 65% of purchases are word-of-mouth, it makes sense to build a great business. You still have to spend money on reaching out to potential new customers to get people talking about you, but you are lucky to live in such a connected world where marketing doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. Yes, finding people and connecting with them is actually harder and more time consuming, but if you get it right you’ll create a company with a foundation to last a lifetime.
A Story to Learn From
I recently had a photography client who had a great idea. He wanted to create a pizza party for art directors over the Internet. My client would facilitate the party, buy pizza for the art directors within each of their companies, get them talking over a conference call and just let the magic happen. The cost was minimal. Hopefully they would invite a few co-workers in on the call too. The idea was for him to be the connector and help people meet each other within their industry. This is a very smart idea.
My friend was trying to connect with people who have the potential to give him some work. By reaching out to them he was putting himself on their radar. I thought it was a solid idea, but one that had a long timeline to see any real marketing progress. I thought it would take 6 – 9 months to see any progress.
I was wrong.
Wrong #1 – The art directors really didn’t want a pizza party. They liked the idea, but they were too busy with their work. That fact doesn’t really matter because he still saw rewards for his effort.
Wrong #2 – My client found that a lot more of these art directors are now opening his emails after reaching out to them only a few weeks before. It put him into a new category. A person who is willing to step outside the normal “relationship building zone” and try to help people connect is a person that they like to associate with.
The photographer never even threw a party, but the idea of the party put him on their radar. They saw him as someone willing to connect and build relationships. He gained a small portion of their trust. This trust boosted his email open rate. That’s time well spent.
There are ways to be creative in how you connect with people. There are many ways to build awareness and eventually turn this awareness into trust.
- Be Fun – People love talking to people who create a fun atmosphere. You don’t need to be the life of the party, but be interested in what other people are saying. When you are interested in what other people are saying, you become interesting. It’s an old rule of friendship that so many people forget. The added bonus is that these conversations will allow you to find out how to build stronger connections with people.
- Be Consistent – A part of every business is being consistent. That means showing up every single day. If you are building a business by hosting a free tele-call every Monday and fail to show up just once then a lot of people waiting on that call probably won’t be back. A small business’s brand is all about taking consistent action. You enjoy staying in certain hotels because you know what you are going to get. You have to strive for the same level of consistency. If you aren’t following up with people, you will fall off their radar when they need someone with your skills.
- Be Thoughtful – When working with clients you have to be willing to reach out when they least expect it. The best part of a surprise email with a great article to help a client’s business is the surprise. People’s brains are wired to feel happier with a surprise then an expected gift. Next time you are talking to a client/customer and they are struggling with a certain part of their business, write this down and find an article that will help them. There is an article for every business problem. Send them an email and link the article. They’ll love it, and you’ll have a little extra mojo next time they are looking for help.
What can you do to connect with people in fresh new ways? People want an experience. Can you create an event/party for people in your industry?
Image by Shaking Hands by oooh.oooh
Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Karl Staib of Party Biz Connect. Karl Staib is addicted to throwing Twitter Parties. If you want to learn how Twitter Parties can help your business grow, click here. You can also follow Karl on Twitter and learn how to build your business by standing on other people’s shoulders.
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