Here’s what’s fascinating about talking to 22 small business owners (so far) about how they’ve built great business relationships: everyone has a different take on it. Here’s a roundup of the action steps gleaned from the first 22 conversations.
Jeff Sachs: Take time to get to know someone even if there’s no immediate “payback.” You never know where that relationship will lead in the future.
James Carter: Give yourself permission to kick ass. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people and ask for help. Or to charge what you are worth.
Marli Williams: When you feel self-doubt, acknowledge it, realize that most people feel it at sometime or another, and then go out and build relationships anyway!
Christy Servine: Get motivated by taking a minute to reflect on how relationship-building can make a huge positive impact on your business.
Lori Vajda: Think about what kind of reputation you want to have with other people. Do you want to be known as friendly? Reliable? Detail oriented? Make sure that you are living up to that reputation in all of your interactions.
On Connecting Creatively:
Lena Kashina: If you don’t like going to networking events, DON’T GO! Build your network in a more creative way.
Brenda Errichiello: Low on clients? Reach out to friends who might need your services, and offer to do a little bit of work for free. Build your reputation by showing your value.
Melissa Jones: Connect with others in your local community to see if they would be interested in co-working with you.
Sara Zessar: Figure out where your ideal clients hang out (i.e. in Meetup groups, at certain community locations) and then plan a presentation there to share your expertise.
Carrie Ure: Do some volunteer work. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re in active service helping others.
David Waltzer: Seek out anchoring events to forge real relationships. These can be having a conversation over coffee, attending a meetup group, or even meeting someone at a conference after party
On Types of Conversations to Have
Rebecca Shapiro: Be vulnerable. Share a genuine story with someone you meet. Then really listen to their story.
Josh Kalsbeek: Ask someone you respect to give you honest feedback on something you are working on.
Shannon Ewing: Ask someone who their ideal clients are, and see if you can help them be very specific, so you know who to refer to them in the future.
On Connecting With Clients and Mentors
Annette Slade: Say no to an non-ideal client. Hint: You will know they are non-ideal if they want to pay you less than you want to be paid, if you feel that you aren’t the best solution to their problem, or if you are uncomfortable when you think about working with them. Trust your intuition.
Carie Roberts: Talk to someone in your target audience or a potential client about their deepest pains. Listen well and then offer them some insights.
Grace Estripeaut: Find a creative way of giving to an influencer.
Katie Mason: Choose whether or not to go to an event based on the people attending, not on the content of the event.
Brenda Lane: Nervous about going to a networking event? First, make sure it’s worth going (i.e. that your “people” will be there), and then bring a buddy.
Kerstin Hammes: The next time you go to a networking event, go with the perspective that everyone there is awesome and valuable. Then make a concerted effort to find out why each person you speak to is truly awesome.
On Communicating Well:
Michael Cavitt: Follow up at least 5 times after meeting a new person. Research shows that it takes at least that many times to make a sale.
Tamira Hamilton: Put together a list of resources or a “helpful toolbox” so that you always have something to give your contacts that will help them meet their goals.