Today I attended a lunch meeting and our topic of conversation was new business. That got me to thinking about how really, really hard it is to get new business. Acquiring new business can be a painful and arduous task. There can be so many layers of bureaucracy to overcome, objections to counter and the sheer volume of competitors to thwart. Overall it is just tough. The one thing we do know for sure is that acquiring new business always comes back to the same thing: RELATIONSHIPS! Who do you know or who do you know that knows somebody.
Make a list
I am not talking about complex networking here. I am talking about people who know you, trust you and care for you. I am talking about stakeholders in you, or stakeholders in your projects or buildings or clients. For instance, existing clients, employees, a neighbor, a relative who has a contact, your staff and people they know, valued vendors, professional service providers, etc. The goal is to unearth these contacts and find out who YOU really are connected to through all of these connections.
Believe it or not, social media can be a big help to you in forming relationships. Yes, they are virtual relationships initially, but they can and do blossom into real, face to face relationships and business too. Have you ever visited your employee social media pages or your vendors pages to see who they know? Same with people who are already clients.
So now for the technology part
There are many ways to approach this, but with today’s technology, there are so many tools, like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. These sites and platforms give you a 24/7/365 view of who knows who. That is a really good start. If you are looking for someone and that person is connected to the person you want to meet, give them a call or send them an email. Ask for an introduction. It cannot hurt and it can at least give you a warm introduction and it is much better than a cold call!
Blogs Are Communities
As far as WordPress and blogging, commenting on blogs and sharing blog content can help build relationships too. As a blogger you get to know your audience. They actually become friends and colleagues. It is a community spirit and it breeds so much opportunity to meet more and more people as you share your opinions and viewpoints. Try it out and you will see what I mean. A good tool for this is Disqus and Gravatar. Be sure you have your profiles set up on both of these powerful platforms.
Twitter is the Ultimate
If you use Twitter, just retweeting someone’s tweets and replying can give you a leg up. Yes, believe it or not, something as simple as that can help open doors. The same with Facebook pages or Linkedin Company pages. Follow those pages, Like the pages and comment on their content. There is nothing wrong with getting to know someone on social media, BEFORE you call them. If you call them you can reference a blog post or a tweet or a Linkedin discussion and it may help get your call answered.
The bottom line and one of my favorite sayings is that you have to “use every single tool in the drawer” until you find the one that works for you. Remember a warm introduction is better than a cold call any day!
Photo Credit: Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World Jonathan Goldsmith