We often think of sales in binary terms: “Are you going to buy or not?” This person is (or isn’t) a prospect. I’m bringing something of value. They understand (or don’t understand). While we’re busy thinking about bringing in revenue, though, we sometimes forget we also contribute to the bottom line for other business owners and professionals. Just as you are their clients, they could be yours.
Consider the following:
- Services you use. You get your haircut. You use a landscaping service. You have an accountant, doctor, dentist and maybe a lawyer. You have a mechanic who looks after your car. Don’t forget your dry cleaner. Do they know what you do? Have you politely asked them to become clients? They help you. You would be happy to help them.
- Products you buy. You shop in many big places, such as warehouse stores, so it’s unlikely you have a relationship there. How about all of the smaller places you shop? For example, you buy wine, greeting cards, clothing or jewelry. These shops are often independently owned and operated. Have you taken time to learn about their business? Have you told them about yours? If they are business owners, they have insurance and retirement planning needs.
- The unexpected restaurant opportunity. You have a favorite local restaurant. You also hold seminars. Monday night is the traditional slow night for dining out. You decide to hold your next seminar in a local restaurant on that day. The restaurant gives you a great deal on food and drinks because it’s their slowest night. Now they know what you do for a living. They will want this activity to become a recurring stream of income. Becoming your client sounds like a way to bring you both closer.
- Contributing to their charity. Your client has a favorite charity, and they serve on the board. They may even help organize the charity gala. Instead of sending them a fruit basket for their birthday, you might make a small donation to the charity in their name. They’ll hear about it. Another approach is to buy a ticket to the charity gala and sit alongside them. Because you’re supporting a charitable cause that means a lot to them, they may deepen the relationship, sending more business in your direction.
- When you send referrals, does the recipient know? I come to town with my wife, and we want the best steak around, so you send us to your favorite restaurant. Don’t stop there, though! Tell the owner you recommended their restaurant. They may be more inclined to want to help you with your business in return.
When you contribute to the bottom line of local businesses, shouldn’t you give them the opportunity to learn about how you could help them?
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book Captivating the Wealthy Investor is available on Amazon.
For more networking and prospecting ideas:
- “11 keys to impactful networking” (MDRT members only)
- “How to raise your visibility”
- “Networking your way to Top of the Table as a millennial” (For Top of the Table and Court of the Table qualifiers only)