Networking Millennium Style... Making Money for your Clients
Leading edge organisations, grow their clients businesses at the same time as their own. In the USA, they call it 'revenue enhancement'. Basically it means making money for your clients as well as yourself. Let me assure you, this is definitely non-traditional selling. However, it has a powerful impact on both your bottom line and your clients'.
So, how do you do it and more importantly, why would you bother?
The why and how
The 'why' is very clear-client revenue enhancement will enable you to stand out from all your competitors and create far greater loyalty than any price cut or special deal ever will. Today, you don't have to be the cheapest. In fact you can charge more for your services, because you are in fact giving more. You are giving referrals to your clients at no extra charge-as well as providing your normal exceptional service.
The 'how' is also relatively easy and may just require a little lateral thinking on your part. We all know that the key to business growth is getting customers to buy twice and in fact turning them into a client and ultimately an advocate.
Look at your client base-be it 10 clients or 1000 clients-and, if you haven't already done so, grade them into A, B and C clients depending on frequency or volume of orders or whatever your criteria may be. We are wanting to clarify where is our business coming from and what can we do to ensure that we do not lose even one of our major accounts.
We may then choose to work from the top client right through to the bottom.
People often make the mistake of dismissing small clients, not realising that they may just be one of a number of service providers for that company. But if they were to gain a greater market share of their business, they could become one of their major accounts.
Next step, one by one, look at these clients and ask the questions:
- How well do you really understand their business (not yours)
- Do you have any idea of the sorts of customers they are looking to do business with?
The clearer you are on this one point, the easier the revenue enhancement becomes. If you're unclear, why not phone your key person and ask the specific question: "Describe to me the perfect customer for you".
You may choose to explain that part of your client retention program this year will be your intention to refer business to this client. Don't be surprised if they are taken aback with your offer. Record their responses and then start asking yourself the questions:
- Do I know anyone who fits this description?
- Do I know anyone who knows anyone who fits this description?
Maybe you don't know anyone today, however, you now know what you are looking for. Repeat this process for maybe 10 clients at a time. Without doubt, you will find that you already know people who are potential prospects either in your client base or your associates. Now it is a simple case of connecting two people together.
When you do make the initial call, ask the client to send you five of their business cards. When they ask why, explain that this will make it a lot easier for you to refer business to them, if you can just give their business card to the potential prospect. You then create a specific referral business card holder, that would be portable, as well as an electronic record.
Add your name
Most importantly, before you place their business card in your referral holder, write your name on the back of their card-referred by John Jones.
You may decide to work on giving referrals to just ten clients per month and another ten the following month.
Energy follows thought-what we think about in our lives, is what we create for ourselves. If our intention is to give referrals to our clients, we will find that this happens. Basically, it's as simple as having their business card available and giving it to a prospect at an appropriate time. Linking people with similar interests, potential business objectives and opportunities is great fun and very satisfying.
The by-product will be more business and referrals for you and all it took was a little of your time and a little lateral thinking. And, always remember-what you give out comes back ten fold!