"Networking + Follow-up = Relationship Building"
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed examples of how you might approach other equine industry professionals to establish a connection. For example - you go to a networking event or meet a new acquaintance online. What are the next steps you should take to build a genuine business relationship with that person?
CRM - Your Secret Success Tool
Let me first say, the value of a good CRM system (contact relationship management) can make all the difference between building your business and simply wasting your networking time. It not only allows you to record general contact information, but also includes the ability to enter and track notes about previous conversations, set reminders, attach files and emails and designate multiple categories or tags for each contact. And finally, it can alert you when a follow-up is due and remind you about your relationship and previous conversations with that person.
So, if you perceive value in a new contact and the chance for a mutually beneficial relationship, first gather their contact information via their email signature, business card, website, etc, and enter it in your CRM system. Then jot a basic note about how you met, the correspondence you had and how/when to follow-up. Then enter a reminder so you don’t forget (this step is critical).
Stay in Contact and Be Helpful and Sincere
Send your new contact an email or message them on social media to let them know that you want to support their successes as well. Consider offering them something of value - for nothing. Even something as small as a great recipe, or a helpful website or business application they might find useful. Then, perhaps suggest that you subscribe to each other’s blog and offer to cross promote content through social networks. Be genuine and sincere, always.
Looking back throughout my career as a business owner, associates occasionally took the time to introduce me to other professionals simply because there was a chance that we might benefit from each other’s expertise. Sometimes nothing came of it, sometimes it was not a good fit business-wise and sometimes it lead to an awesome new opportunity. Regardless, I appreciate these introductions immensely, and will forever be grateful to them for taking that extra, selfless step in an effort to be helpful.
Be in it For The Long Haul
Relationship building takes time. Often months or longer depending on the situation. If you’re looking for instant gratification, don’t waste your time. But if you truly want to grow your business, attract long-lasting business associates and develop a solid referral base, then resolve to do it right. Put in the time, with genuine intentions, and your efforts will reward you many times over.
ON TO PART 3
(BACK TO PART 1)
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Equine Office Solutions provides personalized, online administrative & marketing support services for busy equine business professionals. Clients enjoy partnering with an experienced professional who takes an interest in their business, providing consistent, quality results. Contact Carol Aldridge for a complimentary consultation and learn how Equine Office Solutions can help streamline your business, increase efficiency and free up more time so you can get out of the office and back in the saddle!