There are many ways to get new business and grow your company. In a difficult economy it is important for the business owner to use all the opportunities that abound. Some of these opportunities are difficult, time consuming and labour intensive, whereas others are relatively easy and pleasant. Here is one of the easy ones.
Traditionally, finding business is a bit like hunting: Find the animal, kill it, consume it and go look for the next one.
The alternative is farming: Plant a seed, nurture the seed, reap the harvest and come back next season for more.
Here is how these principles would work in real life:
Consider the case of Joe. Joe is in the market for a jetski. He doesn’t know much about jetskis except that they look like a lot of fun and he really wants one.
Joe doesn’t know anyone who sells jetskis and he doesn’t know anyone who has the right knowledge to advise him either. He surfs the internet for information but can only find overseas based stuff. He then visits a number of outdoor centres and ends up buying the cheap Chinese import from an advert he found on Gumtree.
Joe doesn’t know anyone who sells jetskis, but he has a friend who is a bit of an expert on watersports. He asks his friend for advice and his friend recommends a particular dealer that he knows personally. Joe takes his friend’s advice and visits the dealer where he buys a middle-of-the-range jetski.
A year ago Joe was at a business networking event and met a guy who sells jetskis and boats. Joe wasn’t in the market for a jetski at the time but agreed that they could stay in touch. The sales guy stayed in touch on a monthly basis after they met, by sending Joe emails with useful information about how to enjoy the outdoors and water based activities.
Joe learned about safety, hidden costs, maintenance tips, the things to ask before buying and a list of great boating locations close to where he lived. When Joe received a mail that spoke about how to safely involve children in watersports, he made his decision. He called the sales guy, arranged a demo and bought the top of the range jetski.
Scenario 1 illustrates the hard and difficult way to get business. A lot of work is put into it with no guarantee of a sale. The only determining factor is price, and there is no loyalty.
Scenario 2 illustrates the power of referral marketing. Business comes to you through relationships of trust. Look after the people in your network and they will refer people to you.
Scenario 3 is the easy way. Joe will in all likelihood buy future accessories and upgrades from the sales guy – and refer others too. Why? Because the sales guy understood the value of staying in touch and developing meaningful relationships. If he keeps it up, Joe will be a customer for life.
Scenario 3 is by far the easiest and most sustainable way of growing a business. It does take a bit of a mindset change and some effort to change old ways and habits, but it is well worth it. This principle could work for your own business as well if you want it to.
If you are not sure how this applies to your unique circumstances or how to get started, please contact us and we will be happy to share some further thoughts with you.
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