Networking For Fun And Success
Ok, here we are back with the store owner and ways to increase business. Are you a member of any associations? I am a dedicated networker for my own business and I can tell you first-hand – it works! Many business associations allow guests to attend their breakfast or lunch meetings and most have “after hours” get togethers, so you can check them out before joining. Trust me, members like giving business to members. Your local Chamber of Commerce is another excellent address. Not only are they great places to network, they also allow you to meet community leaders in a casual environment. I wouldn’t get past the assistant of a Georgia Senator under normal circumstances but I had a pleasant chat with one the other day because he was the keynote speaker at a Marietta Business Association meeting. You may have products or services that are interesting to schools, government offices, or large local companies. Networking is the way to get the foot in the door.
Loyalty. Hard to find these days but a good way to keep customers. We speak of “customer loyalty”. Why couldn’t you show loyalty to your clients to reap the reward of the golden grail – a repeat customer who brings her friends and family. When you sell a large ticket item, do you call the customer a week or two later to see if she’s happy with her purchase? Do you mail her coupons valid for a future purchase if she refers a friend? Do you organize “invitation only” events in your store to introduce a new product while serving finger foods or cookies? (never mind that the invitation is going to three zip codes, it’s still exclusive!) Yes. It takes work, a little money and time to keep existing business and to acquire new accounts – but you know what? That’s why you’re in business!
There is a huge fringe benefit to starting activities like this: you will instantly feel better and in control. Nothing like taking a difficult economy by the throat and telling it that it isn’t getting the better of you.