Showing up counts! You show up on the Web, on the phone, and through video conferencing. But while technology tools can certainly drive business development, nothing beats sitting down with someone and talking face to face (that means in person).
The Value of Face-to-Face
One of my clients (let’s call her Karen) invited two clients to lunch with the sole purpose of reconnecting and asking for referral introductions. When Karen began the referral conversation, the client said, “That’s great. We can talk about that later. But right now let’s talk about other projects we want to do with you.”
Karen walked away from that meeting with new projects, the client’s commitment to work with her company as their outsourced marketing department, and a referral introduction to one of her prime targets.
Tom shared a similar scenario. Determined to accelerate his referral business, he booked lunches with one client and two potential Referral Sources. The client committed to additional business with Tom’s company, and both Referral Sources offered introductions to new prospects.
Nothing Beats Face-to-Face
Would these business opportunities have happened without face-to-face meetings? Perhaps. But there’s nothing more powerful than breaking bread with people with whom you have valuable relationships. You catch up, share information, and discuss work you’ve done with other clients. And you can figure out how to help each other.
Once you get to know people and they get to know you, you’ll discover many opportunities to provide (and ask for) referrals. Refer someone to a potential client, alliance partner, or someone in a similar business. By providing referrals, you become a valuable resource.
Losing Touch Means Losing Business
Keep in touch with your network. Don’t call people only when you want something. Sure, it’s tough to keep those connections warm, because we’re all busy. We get so involved in our jobs that we don’t make time to “socialize.” But not making time could cost you.
If you want to develop strong relationships that convert into business opportunities, you must get to know people and learn the ins and outs of their businesses. That means putting down the mouse, stepping out into the real world, and learning to talk to people, whatever their language.
When has reconnecting with a client or other Referral Source led to new business opportunities for you? How do you intentionally nurture your network for referral success?