People Do Business With People, Not Companies

32dd28fc541a95c4a5e457960d896b38 While you’ve heard me preach time and again that it’s imperative to build your know, like and trust factor online, there’s no denying that one of the most powerful ways to attract more clients and build your business is to engage and connect with others – in person.

We must never forget that at the end of the day, our businesses are about people. Connecting with, helping, engaging, sharing and collaborating. People, not companies. People, not computers. If you are hiding behind your keyboard, you are missing out on many great opportunities to engage your target market, build buzz for you and your business and nurture lifelong relationships.

Here are 10 offline buzz-generating opportunities to consider:

1. Invite five clients to lunch – Create “Raving Fans.” Pick five past or current clients who you feel would be your best referral sources and take each of them to lunch or dinner individually. Ask them what you can do to help them in their business and let them know that you want them on YOUR R&D team. Let them know that you would like to survey them occasionally to find out what their greatest needs are. Ask them individually the following three questions – in order:

  • What is it that you like about doing business with me?
  • How can I improve upon my service to you?
  • You are one of my ideal clients. My goal this year is to work with more people exactly like you. Do you know of any people like you that you could make an introduction for me?

2. Create a signature talk – Public speaking is an excellent way to communicate your brand message to multiple members of your target market. The words you choose, your facial expressions, the tone of your voice and the way you dress all give you the opportunity to communicate your passion, expertise and personality.
If speaking to groups appeals to you, develop a simple “Speaker’s Kit” (your bio, photo, one sheeters of signature talks, testimonials) and send it to at least five program chairs, event planners and association heads each month.

3. Stay in touch with your current and prospective clients with cards – birthday, holiday, anniversary etc. Pick a special occasion that you love to celebrate (mine is Valentine’s Day) and send a custom card to your list/database.

4. Be willing to WOW and SURPRISE the members of your cheering squad – your brand ambassadors. Don’t underestimate the power of a small gift such as a great new business book, a box of chocolates, a gift certificate for a massage or a delicious lunch delivered right to their office. Develop a referral acquisition strategy. Be willing to ASK and then REWARD those who send referrals your way. Constantly nurture those who become a part of your cheering squad.

5. Refer business to your clients. I guarantee that your clients are looking for ways to build their businesses too.

6. Reward people for sending referrals. I am a big fan of sending gift cards with a thank you note – Starbucks, Container Store, Barnes & Noble, AMC Theatres etc.

7. Host a party for your friends and clients – be a gracious and welcoming host who connects others easily and effortlessly. Host an intimate lunch or dinner for members of your sphere of influence and target market to do a little research and development. Offer a resource list, bonus report or special new book that you picked out as a thank you gift for each person that attends.

8. Offer yourself as a media source. Provide valuable information and ideas to your target media. Send out a newsworthy press release to target media each month. Put together a basic press kit which includes your company profile, bio, fact sheet and photos. Make friends with your target media. If you live in the same city, offer to take them to lunch. If not, remember them on holidays or birthdays and send a small gift.

9. Once a month, ask someone you admire and respect for lunch, coffee or even a brief visit at her office. Show up prepared, with questions, and use this time to discover the “secrets” to her success. Make sure you follow-up with a hand-written thank you note and maybe even a small gift.

10. BE your Brand – Your personal brand is the sum of your actions, communications, offerings and interactions. You must create an image of value and deliver on that unique value. What is it that makes you different, special and valuable to your clients? Focus on your unique attributes in everything you do – your strengths, skills, values, and passions. You are your own 24/7 billboard – a walking, talking, living ad campaign. Every day, in everything you do, you tell the world about your brand. Brand yourself successfully and you will develop strong, enduring relationships with your clients.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010

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