Business-Building Thoughts From Terry L. Brock
Relationship Marketing is a time-honored way to build your business. When people feel they know you, they like you and they can trust you, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
Recently I was talking to a President of a professional organization and he was confidentially sharing with me how he had trouble getting people involved in the organization. When times were good and business was roaring, his members said they couldn’t get involved because they were too busy taking care of business. Now, with the slow-down, these same members are lamenting that they don’t have time because they are scrambling for business.
You and I face the same time-crisis. I’ve been to 100 gazillion (seems like that many) networking functions in the US and other countries. Many have been very good. But I find the 80/20 rule applies. In fact, I find my experience has been more 90/10 or 95/5 rule. 95% of the business comes from 5% of the contacts. The other 95% of the contacts generate, maybe, 5% — if the wind is blowing right!
You have limited time as well as money today so you have to focus on those activities and people which are going to yield the harvest you need as a Relationship Farmer. A farmer can’t take care of every individual corn stalk on a 1,000-acre farm. The successful farmer focuses time, money and effort (TME) where it yields the best results. This is what you and I have to do.
This means we have to say no — sometimes. You can’t go to every networking event. If you’ve been to a particular venue and people who will probably never recommend you and never buy from you are about 95% of those attending — well, exercise your No! muscle a little more.
Careful! You don’t want to say No! to someone who could possibly recommend you to a paying customer later. And just because someone can’t say yes today doesn’t mean they won’t be able to tomorrow.
So, how do you separate the tire kickers from those who either will or seriously could buy in the future? How can you, as a successful Relationship Farmer focus your TME on those areas which will be most beneficial?
Test early and often. Find out how serious someone is about doing business with you. As an example, I recently met a person at a networking meeting. After the perfunctory exchange of cards and the What do you do? initial question he proceeded to tell me about his work as a life insurance salesman.
I politely told him I’m not in the market for life insurance but would like to find out more about him. Instead of taking the cue that I’m not a candidate he proceeded to go on and on about the new offerings his company had, how they can provide coverage, etc. etc. What a waste of time being there with him!
I learned some good lessons. Stay away from those who feel they can persuade you to buy from them if they, 1) increase the volume (he did), and 2) cite more of the features of his product with which he was enamored (and I was not). A polite, diplomatic, Oh, let me check out those cookies at the refreshment stand might have been better on my part.
Care for people – always be polite. However, you can’t care deeply and form what I call a Level 6 of 7 bond of friendship with someone who doesn’t have your values and just wants you for their own purposes. You can’t be best buddies with everyone. Instead, spend your time finding those who will profit from your services.
Online this means you focus your TME on those areas which will yield the maximum benefit for you. Shun those email chats, the Twitter chats, the Facebook exchanges which take you away from your business goals.
Times are serious now as never before. For today’s entrepreneurs (aren’t we all today?) you have to focus your precious TME on those areas which will yield the biggest benefit.
Another approach for testing is to have a free report where people can learn more about you. Direct them to your website and ask for a sign-up to your free newsletter or special report. If they are not interested in something of value from you that is free, they are probably not a highly likely candidate for now. Be polite and focus on buyers who can use your services now.
The insurance agent I mentioned before would have been better off to politely take my business card, think of what I do and keep me in mind for those who might need my services. I would be happy to keep him in mind for others who really need insurance. The interchange would have been much shorter, much more pleasant and have better long-term potential.
Learning to say no — politely and rapidly — can help you find those areas which generate a lot more benefits.
Sometimes you’ll say, Not yet. They won’t be able to buy now but you want to stay in touch, keep them in your list (those not doing business now but who might or could recommend you). You can do this with value to them by offering a free newsletter that targets specific needs they have. Always give value to them. Do it at low cost to you by offering value through a newsletter with audio and video.
Learning to say No to some is the best way to say Yes to the right people — right for you and for them.
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock.