If you’re trying to grow your business, and you’re self-employed (a.k.a. all alone), it can be very overwhelming trying to figure out all the ways to get your name out there and build your brand. There are a so many different types of marketing…online, direct mail, social media, door knocking, you name it. But I have found, time and again, the clients I enjoy the most are those that came to me by referral. We can easily find ourselves spinning wheels trying to market our business, and avoid the activities that matter most. So in my efforts at time management and eliminating the non-essential, I find myself back to the center, growing my business by referral. I thought I’d share the basic fundamentals that were passed onto me, in the hopes they may help you!
1. Know your clients: If you haven’t taken the time to write out your database, now is the time. Personally, I like an old-school Excel Spreadsheet. Include your clients, colleagues, and loved ones who support you. Put in as much information as you have (names, address, email, etc.) But this is just the beginning…writing a list of your contacts is not the same as knowing your database. Knowing your database means two things: (1) maintaining contact with them, and (2) learning more about their lifestyle, wants and needs, so that you can aim to serve them above and beyond the product or service you offer. More on this below…
2. Build a network of trusted service providers: This is huge. When you’re self-employed, especially when you’re just starting out, you’re an island. Personally, I spent the first few years of my career grasping at straws when it came to my marketing plan, doing a little bit of everything but not doing anything especially effective. Once I started focusing on building a network, everything started to change. My network is valuable for two reasons: (1) they inspire me, teach me, and help me become a better version of myself, and (2) they help me serve the wants and needs of my database. If you’re truly getting to know your database, you’d better have the resources available to help them when a need arises…and this is where the network comes in.
3. Provide value: This is the #1 key to success in business and life. If we operate with an intention to be of value, above and beyond the service we provide, we’ll attract the success we’re seeking. It’s law of attraction. (Yes, I believe in all that mumbo jumbo!) What does this look like? It’s two-fold: (1) if you’re learning about your database on a deeper level, you’ll discover how you can help them in their personal and professional lives, and (2) if you’re connecting your network to your database, you’re providing value to your network. It’s a big ol’ love fest. And the result? Everyone will want to help you back! It all comes full circle. And frankly, it’s always a good day when you’re helping someone else.
4. Show gratitude: Almost as awesome as helping someone is telling someone you appreciate them. It just feels good. And I’m not just talking about business here. Tell your spouse you appreciate them…send them a thank you card in the mail to your own house. Let them be surprised and acknowledged. Send a thank you card to a sibling, a parent, a friend. And of course, send thank you notes to your clients and referral partners. Let people know your appreciate them! If referrals are the core of your business, people need to know it and know how much it means to you. Plus, when you’re intentional about finding reasons to be grateful, you’ll start to recognize how great your life actually is, which helps you get through the inevitable ups and downs of being a self-employed island. Gratitude is an all-natural pick-me-up. Give it a shot.
If you’ve ever wondered if you can make it in business…I tell you, you cannot fail if you operate under these principles. Success in sales (we’re all in sales if we’re growing a business and ‘selling’ our brand) is not a result of self-serving activities. I’m sure it can be…but I’ve found that when I operate with an intention to serve others, magical things start happening. Visit your database daily, find people to help, find people to thank, and be consistent. Good things will come your way. Let me know how it goes!