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Networking and Relationships

Intro by Skip Cohen

In this short post from Beverly Walden, she hits on one aspect of networking, and it’s perfect for this time of year as business starts to ramp up.

Building relationships are your most reliable marketing tool, but it’s not just about meeting people and getting your name out there but paying attention to the care and feeding of your network as well.

Think of the people in your network like the rings on a target. You’re at the center and in the first circle closest to you are those few people who you trust the most. Typically they’re family members and a very best friend or two. The next ring out includes people you might work with, be friends with and have a recognizable level of trust.

As you expand the circles of your network the level of trust, expertise and contact decreases. The challenge comes in maintaining contact and looking for ways to keep in touch and maintain the relationship.

For example, you might have an entire circle made up of staff at all the vendors whose products you use. You never know when you’re going to need their help, so it’s an essential group of relationships to keep healthy.

Beverly shares some terrific tips for building your network in your community. When she donates a portrait sitting to a fundraiser, she’s proactively planting the seeds for new relationships.

By Beverly Walden

Networking is, in its purest form, building relationships. It’s being friends with people. The more people who know you, the more human collateral you have. And that gets you places and opens doors that couldn’t be opened otherwise.

It can be compared to farming (planting seeds, tending to them…and then waiting for results) as opposed to hunting (immediate results).
What we need to keep in mind is that it may take time, but the results are a deep loyalty and commitment to us and our business.

Lately, we have been approached by more and more of our top clients to donate to their charity or school fundraiser. As our top clients who have children at the leading private schools or work for the top charities, we are assured we will have a great shot at getting more clients like them and spreading the word about our business (networking).

Though we have always participated with local charities and private schools through auctions, we are taking it further these days by improving our presence at the actual event by the following:

  • The main way we stand out from all others is by having them display our work via a Luma Vue (backlit image) on a floor easel. Truly outstanding!!! We pick an image that fits the school or charity and do a beautiful design with the image and our contact info and logo.
  • Second, we prepare a beautiful basket full of our literature and then fill it with candy and a sign. People will always stop for candy! We have our logo and contact info on the Luma Vue, but we want people to take our contact info home with them via our literature in the basket!
  • Third, we instruct the winner to register (by calling us) their certificate within 72 hours of winning in order for it to be good. This gets us in contact with the winner while emotion and excitement are still running high. Otherwise, it may get put away in a drawer and forgotten.
  • Finally, we put an expiration date of 6 months on the certificate, again to keep it fresh in the winner’s mind.
Auctions for private schools and charities are a great way for us to “network” and reach beyond our walls.

Building relationships once we have made contact with these prospects is vital to growing our business, spread the word and nurture the “seeds” we have sown.