You’ve probably heard the expression “people buy from people they know, like and trust”, and that’s really true of us as small business owners.
But the relationships you build don’t just have to be potential customers who you might like to buy from you.Â It can also be with potential suppliers, or people to have strategic alliances or joint ventures with.Â And, of course, you can make friends with others who truly understand what it’s like to be sitting at home working with just the cat to bounce ideas off.
If you go to business networking events you’ll know that that the general ethos is to build relationships…get to know people?and find out how to help them in their business.
You know that to make these networking events work for you, then you need to be clear about the kind of customers that you want (i.e. your target market) and accept that you need to give it some time.Â Relationship building doesn’t happen overnight: what would you have thought if your partner had proposed to you on the day you met?!Â You probably would have run very fast!Â
What normally happens is that you meet someone you take a fancy to, eventually someone asks the other out on a date, and you then start developing your relationship.Â Somewhere down the line, one of you may decide “This Is It”, proposes – and hopefully, the “˜sale’ is made!
(In my case – it took Peter 15 years to get around to proposing, although he firmly maintains that I played hard to get ;o) )
If we accept that relationship building takes some time – in life as well as networking events – then maybe it would be good to accept that it takes time in other areas of our marketing too (hopefully not 15 years though).
If you write down a very top line flow chart for how your marketing funnel works it would be: identify target market, offer them some kind of freebie in exchange for their details, use that list of people to build a relationship with, then sell. (How about that for marketing funnels in a nutshell?!)
Â I meet small business owners all the time who are frustrated at their marketing – particularly their online marketing – because it doesn’t bring them results quickly enough.Â My advice is always to be very clear about who you’re marketing to, be very focused about your marketing message, understand what job your marketing does for you (to get people to raise their hands and say they’re interested), and allow the time to build a relationship with them.Â The same rules apply whether you’re marketing online or offline.
Sales can happen quickly, but your best business – and best sales – will come from those you have spent the time to get to know, and allow them to get to know you. So?not unlike a marriage then.
When you write your marketing plans, build in the time for relationships to build and develop.Â I always tell my personal coaching clients to allow about three months for business to start trickling through after they have started marketing in earnest.
Unfortunately, people have a habit of giving up after about two and a half months because they haven’t yet seen any results.Â Such a shame, because another 3 or 4 weeks and they would have seen the results of their efforts.
So, make relationship building a key part of ALL your marketing activities – online and offline – and you’ll be astounded by the results this can bring.
Have a great week,
PS For more in depth information on how to promote your business, claim your free copy of my audio programme “How to Get More Customers, More Money & More Time for Yourself“.