Relationship Building : How to Expand Business Network

Relationship Building : How to Expand Business Network - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pixabay

A relationship building activity in business is a far cry from building personal relationships. Yet, business relationships do have some similarities that clearly require good interpersonal skills and communication. When it is time to expand a business network, it takes a bit of planning and design to affect seamless relationship building activities. To learn how to build a relationship of this nature, there are several precursors to define. These include:

  • Existing business visibility
  • Business reputation and branding
  • Type of target market
  • Significance of the business as part of a community online and off

How to Build a Business Relationship

Networking is defined by a host of inclusives. These can be business and industry associates, a loyal clientele, links to community organizations and a well-structured plan of public relations. To learn how to build a relationship, a business must first study the “reflection in the mirror” of the business image. What does that reflection say about the business? Is it customer friendly or somewhat detached and indifferent? The importance of the steps to learn how to build a business relationship can be a catalyst to greater expansion of the business network. For example, the first step to build business relationships is “outreach.” This simply implies the method by which the business intends to draw together a close relationship with clients. Other steps of outreach to clients can include hosting onsite programs or online programs. It can also include special events.

The most important feature of outreach is “familiarity” with each client on an individual basis to learn their needs and their buying impulses. When the business is familiar with its clients, this is a free exchange in which clients also become familiar with the business. This leads to a reliable clientele of buyers.

Business Network Expansion Ideas

It may seem ironic that a business must rely equally on local as well as online communities to expand the business network. Putting a face to the business name is crucial to increase business reputation.

Consider the benefits of a networking event. In many industries, a networking event ensures greater real-time visibility than might be afforded through online contact alone. For example, ANTEC is a networking event attended by plastics engineers for over 70 years. It is attended by thousands of technicians, R&D scientists, professors and students and engineers, as well as tech support, sales, and marketing specialists, manufacturing managers and supervisors. This event provides exhibits, presentation of technical white papers and a host of program presenters linked to the plastics industry. Attending this international event expands the business network through exchanges of ideas and information between industry business leaders and other interested individuals. It takes nearly one year of planning that begins with publicity and registration at local levels of business. This shows the local business community the extension of each related business to the wider range of business potential.

How Corporate Responsibility is Related to the Community

Corporations have long been involved in external events and activities that show a deep sense of corporate social responsibility to the community. Many organizations are recipients of the benefits of corporate social responsibility to the community. For example, the Dow Jones facility located in South Brunswick, NJ shows its corporate responsibility to the community through its Family Center in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Another example is the corporate healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson, each year this corporation sponsors an “Energy Coloring Contest” for children. However, Johnson & Johnson annual provides charitable donations worldwide to communities to promote women’s and children’s health with programs such as “Mom and Baby”, “TB Free World”, and “AIDS-Free Future.” This shows how deeply ingrained corporate social responsibility to the community has become.

On a more local level, small businesses regularly connect their businesses to networked associations like Chambers of Commerce where events like “Aligning Business Goals with a Healthy Workforce” and the “Invest in America Summit” held in Washington DC bring together leaders in businesses from local chamber members. The importance of local fundraising events by charities like Catholic Charities, Aleph Institute and Salvation Army and civic groups such as the International Lion’s Club, Rotary and Elks, all provide community outreach sponsored by local businesses and corporations.

Some Relationship Building Activities Businesses

There are seven relationship building activities businesses can do to build relationships and get involved with the community. These include:

  1. Inviting community leaders from the government and educational sectors to work together to identify goals and values that link businesses with the community more closely. For example, the business and community leaders might plan an annual Founders Day festival sponsored by businesses and put your local movements on social media. The community leaders could provide historical exhibits and enactments for children and adults.
  1. Business could also take part in goal planning for the environment within the community. This could include restoration of areas with soil erosion or deteriorating municipal structures.
  1. Businesses should maintain awareness of upcoming plans for community events like recycling programs and be willing to assist with providing speakers and programs.
  1. Businesses can increase their social responsibility to the community by encouraging “Open House” events that provide all business the opportunity to welcome the public.
  2. It is also important to make connections for people to network with each other. For example, self-help programs, photography clubs, book clubs and even ballroom dance clubs are a great way for people to network socially.
  1. Another activity that helps expand the business network is to sponsor local athletic teams for softball, soccer, basketball or football for adults and children. Many businesses also sponsor bowling leagues and providing team uniforms for their athletic teams. Sponsorship is always a way to increase publicity and public awareness of each business.

Study the tips on building relationships and the activities that promote better business relationships between clients, vendors and business networks. With a little effort, expenditure of time and dedicated funding, businesses find they enjoy a greatly expanded business network for the long-term.

Sally SmithSally Smith is a marketing manager with years of experience in marketing communication and strategic planning. The rise of the age of social media led her interest to center around digital marketing. At the present, she works for Real Estate Academy Australia, a company which offers real estate training courses in Queensland.

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit:”Pixabay

Running an online business can be difficult and expensive; you have to worry about managing ad campaigns and monitoring your budget. If this is not done properly, your business could fail. Having a referral marketing program is a great way to reduce marketing costs and increase the profitability of your business. Referral marketing involves your customers telling their friends and family how much they enjoyed your service. Not only does this gain exposure for your business, but it also inspires trust, which increases the likelihood of generating more sales. This article will teach you how to do referral marketing.

Why Referrals?

When a potential customer visits your website for the first time, they likely have no idea who you are or how dependable your business is. This lack of trust makes them hesitant to buy from you. But people trust the opinions of those they respect, such as friends and family members. When a customer refers their friends to you, the referral is going to trust you more than if they had found your website on their own. But nobody will refer their friends to you unless you inspire trust and respect.

Professional Website

Your website is the first impression potential clients have of you and your business. If your customers don’t think you put much effort into it, they will likely believe you handle all areas of your business carelessly. Having a professional website inspires trust and credibility, which will increase your sales and referrals. You must have a clean design and quickly fix any broken links. Sometimes, setting up a professional website requires training and experience; it is also time-consuming. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, it’s vital to have a professional web designer; this ensures your website is professional and inviting.

Managing Bad Reviews

It does not matter how great your product or service is, every company gets bad reviews on occasion. Bad reviews don’t matter as much as how you handle them. Many companies make the mistake of trying to hide their negative reviews, which is a mistake. Trying to cover up negative comments makes it seem you have something to hide; this is damaging to your reputation and will result in losing the trust of potential customers.

Instead, use bad reviews to improve your reputation and inspire trust and credibility. Respond to each negative review with complete openness and honesty. If you made a mistake, be honest and admit it. But vow to do better in the future. Being open about your flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings will show your customers that you have nothing to hide, thus inspiring trust.

Branding

If you want to be truly successful, you need to be more than remembered; you need to become a household name, which is accomplished with a successful branding strategy. This means your company, product, and mission statement become one in the mind of your customers. If you want to successfully brand your product or service, it is vital you provide quality service and live up to a powerful mission statement. Don’t expect branding to be done overnight; it is a long-term process. But when done properly, it gives you a major competitive advantage over others in your industry.

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit:”Pixabay

Offer Gifts

Many companies make the mistake of only considering how they can get their customers to hand over their money, which is a critical mistake. Internet users are bombarded with advertisements every day, and if you only come at them with more ads, they will tune you out. You will lose their trust, business, and referrals. If you want to avoid this, offer your loyal customers small, unannounced gifts. This is not charity; it’s an investment. Receiving gifts will make your customers like and trust you, and the gifts don’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can simply offer gift cards or store credit. If you want to give more valuable gifts away, you can do a monthly drawing. By offering gifts to your customers, they will feel appreciated and valued.

Relationship building

Relationship building is another way to build and inspire trust. Some companies make the mistake of selling to each customer once and letting them walk away, but doing this is leaving money on the table. A customer who buys from you is demonstrating they are interested in your product or service, which means they will likely buy from you again. However, you can’t sit around and hope they will come to your website again. You need to actively remarket to them. This can be achieved by emailing them special offers and promotions. Now, it’s important to never come across too strong in your emails. You want to frame the conversation as you doing them a favor, which can be done by offering discount and loyalty rewards.

Trust Building Overtime

You must know how to build trust, which is not all or nothing; it’s a process that grows over time. But it is also fragile, and while it can take some time to build, it can be destroyed in a second. Therefore, it is vital to be open and transparent in all communications with your customers; never lie or be dishonest. Always be truthful whenever answering questions, and never lie or exaggerate the benefits of a product to get a sale. While doing so can work for a short time, people will eventually catch on, and your trust will be forever damaged.

Final Thoughts

While there are many important factors to the success of your business, none are as important as earning the trust of your customers, without which you lose referrals and the potential to grow and expand. When you lose trust, your business will likely fail. But trust can be built and maintained with a proper plan. Always be open, honest, and transparent in all your interactions; make it a part of your mission statement. Build relationships with your customers, and do everything you can to make them happy and feel valued. While this might seem difficult and overwhelming, it can be simplified by remembering to treat your customers as you would want a business to treat you.

Sarah SmithSarah Smith is a blogger is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media and read travel books. Find her at Twitter.

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