Positive Path Recommended Reading

The Magic of Networking
By Robyn Henderson

Imagine waving a magic wand and having every current and past customer re-use your services in the next sixty days. In dollar terms, think how many thousand dollars this would be worth to you. Many organisations these days are forgetting that much of their future business will ultimately come from their past clients. These clients already know how good their product or service was and hopefully still is.

One of the keys to growing a business is turning customers into advocates. Customers buy once, clients buy twice and advocates do your selling for you. Rather than spending all your advertising budget and energy strictly looking for new business, why not consider investing 50% of your advertising dollars and energy on current and past customers and only 50% on new business. This investment in past clients will encourage them to buy the second time. Ian Kennedy and Bryce Courtenay tell us in "The Power of One to One" that if you can get a customer to make a second time purchase, they are ten times more likely to make a third time purchase and ultimately become your advocate.

Advocates are your raving fans. We earn the right to turn customers into advocates, by exceeding their expectations. Good customer service is not enough these days - that is the norm - everyone is doing that. Turning customers into advocates is step one, then we need to keep them as advocates by continuing to exceed their expectations. Making contact every ninety days with your clients is critical to building a good relationship. That contact is not asking them for an order, but rather doing something for them.

This contact may be in the form of:

  • newspaper clipping (an article that you think may interest them) 
  • referral (actually referring business to your client rather than just expecting the business to always be one way) 
  • thank you card (thanks for your business, your time, your referral) 
  • birthday or Christmas card (although birthday cards are frowned upon in some professions, most clients appreciate your thoughtfulness) 
  • invitations to networking functions (great way of showing how much you care)

Any of the above ideas will give your clients a clear indication that they are valued by you.

It is said that 80% of the population do not get recognition on the job, and work for bosses who constantly catch them doing something wrong and rarely catch them doing something right. In addition 50% of the small business owner/operators are constantly asked by their families "when are you going to get a real job?" Recognition is critical to 99% of the population and it is one of the easiest things for us to give.

Similarly, Giving recognition to your customers is one of the keys to unlocking the magic of networking in your business. By earning the right to gain repeat business, we not only grow our business, we also turn our customers into advocates.

Networking accounts for more than 75% of business happening in the marketplace. Those organisations foolish enough to believe they can continue to sell "1980's style" rather than network and build relationships, may need a real magic wand to survive. Start networking today. Happy networking!

About the author: Robyn Henderson is an author, publisher and international business educator. She travels throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia showing companies how to double their customer base through effective networking. Her latest book is HOW TO MASTER NETWORKING. For more information visit her website at www.networkingtowin.com.au


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