Tag Archive for: networking

There are many ways to build your network of connections when you own a small business or work independently (think realtor or financial planner). Only time and experience will show you which ones are most effective for you. Even if you’re shy or unsure of yourself, you need to network to grow your connections and develop the Board of Directors (BOD) that can be critical to your success.

The point of a Network Constellation is to help each other. You’ll provide leads and contacts to them, they return the favor. You find the right people who are willing to invest their time and energy in helping you develop your business, while you do the same for theirs.

Networking Beyond Networking

Networking can happen in any kind of event, whether that’s a business association, a chamber of commerce, or a group of people involved in the same industry. As we learned during the pandemic, networking groups need not be in person. In our Coaching for CEOs program, we have a Zoom call twice per month and several virtual BOD meetings.  

Networking need not happen just at “networking” groups. It can happen anywhere you meet people and have the opportunity to strike up a conversation. It could be after church, at your daughter’s Little League game, or when you chat with someone sitting next to you on a plane. You can start talking about business, the other person may too, and you find you’re a good match.  Most importantly, make sure that those you invite into your networking constellation understand that this is a reciprocal relationship.  

No Networking for the Sake of Networking

You can put together your Constellation through focused networking. It’s nice to meet new people and they may have interesting stories to tell, but your goal is to grow your business. When you network, your goals should be finding someone who may:

  • Directly or indirectly provide you a sale
  • Be a good fit for your BOD
  • Own a business that has a BOD that you might be a good fit for

Many events allow attendees time for “30-second elevator speeches.” They can help you reach those who interest you. Give each event a purpose by setting goals for phone calls you’ll make and meetings you’ll have after the event.

Once you get the ball rolling with BOD members, ask them who they think might be a good match for your business (or you for their business). This word of mouth can be much more effective and efficient than making the rounds of networking meetings and hoping to stumble upon someone, but it will take some time.

Which Stars Fit Your Constellation?

Who are your customers? Who do they do business with? Your stars are those with ongoing, well-developed relationships with people or businesses who are your customers. But it’s not that simple. They must also see the wisdom of being on your BOD and you joining theirs. These relationships can take time to develop and there may be bumps in the road. But if you stay the course, the help you get from your BOD can make growing your business easier and less time-consuming.

Investing the time and energy to create your Constellation should give you a great return on your investment in the future. Are you ready to do it?

Take the Next Step. Contact Coaches for CEOs

Your BOD can fuel your sales machine. They can champion your business while you do the same for theirs. Contact me to learn more about how working with others can grow your business. Fill out my contact form so we can talk about your company and how you can join a Zoom seminar to learn more.

As we get past the pandemic and the economy improves, we hope that those who struggled over the past year can find success. Some businesses had record years last year, others stayed the same, but many suffered. You may find your boat lifting this year not just because of a better economy but because of those on your board of directors.

When you help others by referring them clients, you actually have the ability to help many other individuals as well. For instance, if a realtor refers a client to a financial advisor, he/she will want to know if the client has a will. If they do not, the financial advisor will likely refer them to a wills and estates attorney, giving the attorney a chance to benefit from your original referral. 

The National Economic Tide is Rising

Federal Reserve Bank officials are forecasting economic growth this year of 7 percent, a level the U.S. hasn’t seen since the 1980s. With that growth comes inflation, projected at 3 percent (not counting volatile food and energy prices) for this year, reports Politico. Raising interest rates is usually a response to inflation, but the Fed stated that might not happen until 2023. They expect heightened inflation to come back down by next year.

That’s good news, so we should work together to make the most of what’s going on around us. More than a year of pandemic limitations caused lay-offs and business closures. Some industries had record years, and those who navigated the pandemic want to get out of the house, get their lives back, and spend money. Let’s take the ball and run with it!

Everyone Should Pitch In

With enough cooperation, communication, and goodwill, your board of directors could be the key to maximizing the opportunities that may await your company this year. You should also do your part to help the companies you’re helping as a board member.

As your business leverages the contacts you’ve developed, you may need more help meeting the demand. By relying on your board, and their connections, your success can spread to others. The businesses that count on you for your feedback and guidance should also reach out to you. They may need your help to exploit their growth.

When it’s time to buy supplies or services, turn to your board members. If they can’t directly help you, they may put you in touch with someone in their network. If you need to hire someone, turn to your board for suggestions if you don’t know of a good candidate yourself.

Buy Super Local

You need to develop a community of people who support each other’s businesses. The more members use their resources to aid each other, the faster and easier it will be for these businesses to grow. One of the main benefits of buying from local businesses is that the positive economic impact is more concentrated in your region compared to buying from a national chain.

One way boats rise is when their owners spend as much money as they can on each other. As the economy improves, there should be more to spend, and the benefits will rebound through your board of directors. This goes beyond buying locally in your town to buying super locally. Try to spend all you can on those you know and work with. They should return the favor, though it may take some time.

Take the Next Step. Contact Coaches for CEOs

How can you build a sales machine for your business? Build your board of directors. These people can champion your business while you return the favor. Contact me to learn more about how working with others can make your business grow. Fill out my contact form so we can talk about your business and how you can join a Zoom seminar to learn more.

We all live in our own environment. It’s where we live, socialize, do business, attend religious services, and shop. We’re in a bubble that bounces into and sometimes merges with other bubbles as we live our lives. You can create your own economy by finding and leveraging the bubbles of future clients and customers.

You must target those who may buy your product or service. It’s like being a private detective, researching someone you need to know more about so you can enter their bubble, be a part of their world directly or through your connections.

To get a sale you could try a direct approach. You may get lucky with a cold call or by introducing yourself at a networking event. But most of these “frontal assaults” fail, so investing time and energy in a more stealthy approach may work better. You won’t pop up out of nowhere, you’ll be connected by someone your future customer knows and trusts.

To create your own economy, you must find out…

Who is Your Ideal Client?

Depending on your business, you may have a few clients who make big purchases or many smaller ones with lower budgets. Who are they? Where are they? Is contacting them in person or through your connections the best route, or must you take another route because they’re too far away?

If there are many possible ideal clients nearby, how should you prioritize your sales efforts? You can focus on a big fish that may be more difficult to catch, but the rewards are bigger. Or, you could go after the smaller, easier-to-catch fish first.

Your track record of success and happy but smaller customers may make it easier to hook the big fish. Though they may not generate the same income, your more numerous customers may provide you with more connections, more possible partners, leading to more sales with more accounts (and maybe a big fish).

What Other Types of Businesses Interact With Your Ideal Client?

Imagine yourself in your ideal client’s bubble.

  • Who might have access to your ideal client?
  • What businesses is he or she working with?
  • Who are they buying from or selling to?
  • What relationships might this person or business have?

These businesses can have a connection on a personal level. They can be the person’s realtor, hairstylist, or landscaper. It could also be business-based, like a supplier, a contractor, an insurance broker, or a banker. Ideally, all these people should have your business card handy in case they want to connect you with someone.

Create Partnerships With Those Businesses

Connect with those connected to your ideal client. They may be people who have no need for your product or service, but they need connections too. You’re offering a relationship that doesn’t cost anything to them (they’re not paying you for anything, though they are using time and energy to promote your business) but offers potential rewards (benefits from your efforts making connections for them). They should, when the time is right, mention you to your ideal client or make an introduction.

These partnerships can be made in person or generated through LinkedIn (which is also an excellent place to research ideal clients and potential partners), content marketing including blogs, and instructional videos posted on your website and social media.

If you want to learn more about how to leverage your relationships, create your own economy, and grow your business, fill out my contact form and attend one of my online seminars. Let’s start the conversation about how we can help ourselves and others.

Building a business is like building a home. You could try to do it yourself, but you can only do so much. The same is true of building a business. The more help you get, the easier it gets, the faster it comes together, the stronger it becomes.

Imagine you have a group of professionals working hard to bring you potential clients. Would you feel more confident you could get through today and have a brighter future? More importantly, would it increase your chances of success?  

Your Board of Directors

Coaching for CEOs teaches you how to put together a Board of Directors (BOD) for your business. If your business is a corporation, you already have a BOD, but this is different. You should have a BOD no matter what kind of legal entity owns your business, whether you’re a sole proprietor, a partner, or own an LLC.

There are many acronyms in my program. Your BOD is comprised of those willing and able to help you build your business. You can think of it as a board of advisors. Your BOD members should be those who can refer clients to your business. But it’s also a two-way street. You need to help your BOD members develop new business too. 

How BODs Work

Over time, your BOD is a link in a chain of BODs for other businesses. You own one business, but you should become a board member for other businesses. Your board members should too. You’re all linked because you’re able to provide leads to others while they give them to you.

Let’s say you’re a home repair contractor. 

  • You may get to know other contractors and your customers own homes.
  • You’d be a good board member for an insurance agent.
  • That agent should know of policyholders making claims for home damage due to fires or water. 
  • The agent would be a good board member for you.
  • The agent could refer his clients to you so you could do repairs.
  • The two of you could be good directors for an attorney.
  • Your clients might need a lawyer if they’re having problems with their insurance company because it’s rejecting their claim to pay for the home damage. 

How My BOD Works

When I’m not training business owners on how to find new clients effortlessly, I work as a mortgage broker. I constantly think about my BOD and how to bring them new clients. I remember my BOD by the acronym BSMDC:

  • Buyers for my real estate agents
  • Sellers for my real estate agents
  • Mortgages for me 
  • Divorces for my divorce attorneys
  • Caregivers for financial planners and estate planning attorneys

Each person in my BOD can directly refer clients to me. I am always on the lookout to refer clients back to them.

Take the Next Step. Contact Coaches for CEOs

How can you build a sales machine for your business? Build your BOD. These people can champion your business while you return the favor. Contact me to learn more about how working with others can make your business grow. Call me at (856)905-7040, or fill out my contact form so we can talk about your business and how you can join a Zoom seminar to learn more.

In our personal and professional lives, we all purchase goods and services from others. We give them something of value (usually money) and we get something of value in return. We may get a used car, paint, or a repaired lawnmower. These are ongoing relationships that can mean so much more with a little extra effort.

Some of our relationships can include our:

  • Insurance Agent
  • Accountant
  • Banker
  • Lawyer
  • Dentist
  • Hairdresser
  • Plumber
  • Landscaper
  • Mechanic  

You probably maintain these relationships because you’re happy with the service or product. You might also like the person and refer business to them. If you’re thinking of them and taking the time to talk to others about their business, you’re engaged in some of the most valuable marketing and sales they could possibly get – word of mouth or social proof. 

Social Proof is a Powerful Tool if You Know How to Use It

Social proof is a marketing and psychological term. When we need a product or service, we want to do it right. The top priority for many of us is finding someone trustworthy (especially if we’re buying something important or expensive). If we don’t know who that is, we could take a lot of time and energy, and investigate who’s available, credible, and provides a good value. We could also use trial and error. We might pick someone at random. It might be a good result or it may be a disaster.

Or we can avoid that risk, time, and energy by asking someone else for a suggestion. We will assume that if someone else had a good experience, we probably will too. Social proof is so powerful it’s spawned a whole online industry. It’s why there’s Yelp, Angie’s List, and Avvo. It’s why Amazon product listings include reviews and why there are testimonials about how a candidate is such a great person on political ads.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Your social proof helps build their businesses. Are they helping build your business too? Are they working hard to refer others to you? Probably not:

  • They may not know what you do. You may not have invested the time to fully introduce yourself and explain what you do, the problems you solve, and the types of clients and customers you seek.
  • Did you ask them for help? They may be happy help you, but unless you ask, they may not think about it.

It shouldn’t be a hard request to make, especially if the other person owns or runs a business. They should be willing to exchange the value you’re providing them (payment for their goods and services plus positive word of mouth) with value to you. Ideally, your contacts should have a sense of fair play. It’s only fair they help you if you’re helping them.

Another big reason for them to refer you to others is another psychological issue, reciprocity. Generally, we hate feeling indebted to others. We will go out of our way to do something for someone who did, or just offers to do, something for us. If you tell your accountant or mechanic that you’re actively telling people about them, they’ll feel indebted to you, even if no one you talked to came to them. To relieve themselves of that debt, they’re likely to “pay you back” by talking up your business. 

Help Others Help You

If you want to learn more about how to leverage your relationships and grow your business, call me at (856)905-7040 or fill out my contact form, and attend one of my online seminars. Let’s start the conversation about how we can help ourselves and others.