Over the course of the last decade, the way in which we use business development strategies and tactics has changed almost beyond recognition. As a way of making initial contact, the telephone has become obsolete and postal mail has gone the same way. In their place, we have an email which is used for everything.
However, user beware!
Unsolicited email can all too often end up in the spam folder and result in your email address being blocked. The key to successful business development today is based upon the building of positive relationships and using those relationships in order to meet new prospects. These are highly important relationships which will constitute the backbone of your trusted business network, and it is, therefore, vital that you continue to nurture and grow them. Your business network should ultimately provide you with a high percentage of your business growth.
Here are our 5 tips for developing your company’s network.
1. Seek Referrals
Existing customers are likely to know others who might need your services.
Ask them for a referral, and get permission to use their name to make an introduction. Armed with this information, and the backup of a trusted customer, you can make your entrance. When a potential customer is alerted to the name of their acquaintance this initial contact is more likely to meet with success.
2. Look for Testimonials
Your customers are the most important supporters you have.
Ask them for feedback – whether they provide you with a simple quote or a lengthier write up that demonstrates how the service you offer has helped them, this kind of testimonial can be an invaluable tool when used correctly. If you have a website, and you really should have a website, then this is the best place to post testimonials.
If you don’t have a company blog then now is a good time to start one – everyone seems to have one nowadays and with good reason. Publishing a blog on your company website is a way for your clients to get to know you, your company philosophy and what your company offers. Blogs also allow for commentary and enable you to interact which can help to create new relationships and ultimately lead to growth for your business. Share posts that highlight your expertise or important industry topics. Blog posts will also help to generate traffic to your website.
This is also similarly true for web directories and other listings that allow you to effectively get your brand’s message across. Innoxcell, a lawyer directory, is an excellent example of this, as it gives a niche presence that directly targets a specific demographic that would be interested in their services. Your target audience is one of the most important factors to consider when building a blog or directory listing, as it should dictate your tone and branding moving forward.
Your target audience is one of the most important factors to consider when building a blog or directory listing, as it should dictate your tone and branding moving forward.
4. Industry Meetings
The age of the face-to-face meeting is not yet dead.
Conferences, trade shows and industry meetings play a vital role in the way in which we network; nurturing relationships with colleagues and helping us to meet new people. If your industry has a national trade association or similar then it is worthwhile joining it and participating in meetings. It may also be worth considering joining the Chamber of Commerce for your area as well, but be aware that it can be costly to attend meetings so make sure you do your homework to achieve maximum potential from this opportunity.
5. Social Networking
Social networking and the opportunities it presents area huge field nowadays and so presents a perfect way to grow your business network. Whether you choose LinkedIn, Twitter or any of the other popular social media sites, it is important to make sure you understand how they work and how you can use them to their full potential, as each one represents a different benefit.
With so many ways to grow your company’s network, try mixing those tried and tested methods with newer social media strategies, and not only will your network grow, but so will your company.