It’s All in the Activity!
byTracy D. Holloman, MA, ACC, CPC, ELI-MP
You’ve been successful in sales and you’ve made an impact in your business but now sales are starting to fall off. So what went wrong and how can you get back on track? Activity!
We all know that people help to drive and sustain business. You may have the best product or service but if people don’t like your product or service, you may have a problem. If people don’t like you or any aspect of your business, you may have a problem. As small business owners, we often get so caught up after the sale and in the details that follow in providing our products or services that we may forget to continue the activities necessary to drive and sustain our business. Those activities involve people! Marketing your business still requires that you keep the momentum going on networking, meeting new people, follow up and closing new deals. They all work hand in hand and they all involve people.
Whether you prefer evening events, specific networking groups, etc., networking is key. Create a goal for networking each month that will help you get in front of people and spread the message about you and your business. This is where we find that many people slack off because they feel that they have clients now and they’re okay. But the fact is, while you’re off working with your new clients, people may be forgetting about you and your business. Setting a goal to attend certain networking events each month will help to keep you and the name of your company stay out there and remembered by all. If you truly don’t have time to attend, then perhaps hiring someone to help you market can help, or even working with a company to market you can be of help. Here on Long Island, many small businesses utilize networking organizations groups such as 516Ads, an organization dedicated to promoting Long Island small business. 516Ads and organizations like it can help customers link to your website, advertise for you and host events where you can speak about your business as you appeal to the masses. Another great place to network is with your local Chambers of Commerce (COC). COC’s aren’t passé as most might think, they are however, a great resource for building business relationships and credibility. But, don’t just join a COC for the sake of joining, become an active member, join a committee and offer to speak, host a seminar, etc. A good COC has a host of events, activities and committees to keep you involved as you build relationships to grow your business. People will remember you when you participate as an active member and that means that you are on their minds and that means potential business. But networking is not enough, you also need to meet with people and cultivate relationships.
You’ve gotten their business card, now what?
If the person you just met interests you, ask if they would like to meet one day over coffee, breakfast or lunch, or a send follow up email or make a phone call to set up a one-on-one meeting. One-on-one meetings help you to understand others and their businesses and how there may be potential synergy in working together. Whether there is synergy or not, the person that you are meeting with has the potential to also help you by referring you to others. But don’t stop there, you may also have the ability to help them and refer others to them as well. They’re called strategic connections and strategic connection mean potential customers so don’t just meet with them once, plan to follow up to continue to cultivate the relationship.
After attending a networking or other event, make sure to follow up and follow through on your commitments. There is nothing worse than promising to provide a contact or connection, or collateral material about your business and not following through. This is where most people lose credibility. So, set a goal to follow up after an event within a certain period of time to keep you on task and actively pursuing new business. So let’s sum this all up.
- Meet people
- One-on-One meetings
- Follow up
- Cultivate relationships
All of these activities point to growing your business!