Networking is an important part of developing your business. In my sales and marketing class we talk about networking and how to go about it . Below is some of the ways I use and teach networking.
1. The first thing you need to do is to develop a list of companies that you can and should network with these companies would be:
Tile and Stone retail stores, fabricators , installers, builders, janitorial service companies etc.
2. Take a local map and mount this on a wall and pin every person you need to network with .
3. When making your sales appointments with your customer, look at a map to see what networking partner you are going past or close to, schedule time before or after your appointment to see that networking partner.
4. Make sure when you stop at a network partner you have information to leave behind, your business card is NOT you leave behind materials, you need brochure and information about you , your company and your services.
5. Networking is an ongoing project that never ends, you need to make these networking visits on a regular cycle, if possible monthly or bi monthly the more they see you the more they will remember you when a customer needs help..
6. Drop off snacks for the sales staff, employees etc. food make people remember you.
7. Work all you contacts, there are organization such as BOMA ( Business office Managers Association) in many markets these managers control the commercial office buildings and a good place to network , this one will cost you some $$ but very well worth it .
8. Builder and remodels are good networking partners, sure the building market is down now but these companies are doing remodel projects and there maybe stone and tile in them.
9. Hardwood floor refinisher,
This is a start, on networking contacts, be sure to educate the people you are working with and leave behind print material are a must!!
Some retail store you should consider seeing if they are interested in selling Care products, many times customers come in looking for the magic fix in a bottle, when they really need your services, the retail store can sell care products and tell the customer if product does not fix their problem they probably need a professional. This is where they refer YOU. You fix the problem the store sell product , you do the professional service when needed and everyone wins.
The key to successful networking is visit, visit , visit the companies you want to network with. These cannot be visited once every 3 to 6 month they need to be regularly scheduled building solid relationship will bring you business.
Hope this helps
John E. Freitag
The Stone and Tile School
I was looking for any suggestions on how to foster a relationship with a potential referral sources, which are fabricators, stone warehouse or anyone that has something to do with natural stone. Yes of course you can go by a introduce oneself and leave some business cards. But I think you need more than that to help develop the relationship.
Thanks, any suggestions would be appreciated!