By Travis Greenlee
Just a few weeks back, one of my clients came to me complaining that he is not getting enough business, even when he had a decent enough website and the right marketing materials such as brochures, newsletters, post cards etc. He also in a way accused the BNI (Business Area Network), saying that the group, in which he was an active member, has not helped him secure the right referrals.
It must have definitely been one of the worst periods of his life, but I just couldn’t help suppressing a smile, obviously because he was naïve enough to blame others for his misfortunes.
However, since pointing out his inherent faults directly would have probably made him even more miserable, I used diplomacy to guide the conversation in such a way that it inadvertently lead to the main topic, i.e. the main reasons for his business failures. It was only then was I able to make him understand clearly that he is the one who is solely responsible for the success of his business, or the lack thereof. That it can never be his fellow members, his competitors’, his family, or anyone else.
The whole episode was a good learning experience for me as well obviously because it allowed me to understand the most basic problem afflicting the majority of small business owners. It was only then was I able to offer better services and solutions to clients having similar problems and issues.
If you too are a small business owner and are facing similar problems, then the first thing I would like to tell you is that word-of-mouth networking is the only cost-effective option you have for improving your business prospects. I would also like to tell you the real essence of word-of-mouth networking, which has more to do with ‘farming’ rather than the conventional belief that lays stress on ‘hunting’.
As such, if you want to succeed in today’s highly competitive business environment, I would strongly recommend that you aim at developing close, workable, and long-lasting relationships with all the stakeholders of your business such as your customers, referral groups, creditors, etc.
Another important thing you should never forget is that you will have to put in additional efforts if you are to derive any real benefits from organizations such as BNI. Merely attending the weekly breakfast will never help you achieve your targeted business goals and objectives.
Basically you will have to be bold and actively participate in all the major events, seminars, and functions. When you do so, other members will start recognizing you and your talents and will feel more compelled to work with you. It is only then will you be able to realize the full potential of word-to-mouth networking and consequently attract more and better clients.
Travis Greenlee is a Business Development Consultant who supports his clients in rapidly increasing their bottom line. To learn more, and to grab your free 7 part digital audio minicourse: http://www.InternetMarketingForSoloPros.com