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Relationship Marketing is key to your business strategy. Use these resources to learn why it is important and how you can improve the service you provide your customers and clients.


A Proven Way To Boost Your Customer Numbers and Increase Your Sales

It is important that you are aware of who it is you want to sell your product/service to. Recognising your target market is an important step in running a successful business. Many new businesses believe that their customers are anyone who buys their product. However, if you can define exactly who your market is and specifically target your customer, you are more likely to be successful.

Don't get caught in the trap of believing you must keep getting new customers, and put all your resources and efforts into opening up new markets. It is more important to plan how to get repeat orders from existing customers. It costs seven times more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing customer. Without customers you have no sales. It is therefore logical that you must look after you customers as though they were the most important part of your business - because they are! When developing your business structure it is important that customer loyalty be considered.

This is important because: ? Without customers you have no business ? Looking after your existing customers is more important than finding new customers ? It costs less to keep existing customers than to find new customers ? You should reward good customers ? Businesses who wish to develop strong Marketing Strategies have to be Customer orientated. By looking after your customers, they will become your ambassadors and promote your business to their friends and contacts. An important way to develop a business is by Networking. But remember, networking is not about making sales.

Networking is about making contacts, through which sales can be made. If you only go to functions attended by people you know, you are not networking - you are socialising. To network you have to meet new people Often it is the contacts of your initial network connection that offers the greatest reward via referrals.

This domino effect is very powerful and needs to be nurtured and developed by every business operator. It is also very important to think about your philosophy and approach to business if you want networking to work for you. For years now, we have been told that we must consider business in terms of 'What's In It For Me' (called WIIFM). This is wrong! A better approach is 'What Can I Do For You' with the outcome of this being WIIFM!! Networking is a long-term investment. Results from networking do not occur over night. Think of networking as Research and Development and learn to enjoy the process.

Never try to make a sale when networking. Remember you are simply trying to make a contact, develop relationships and build trust. One way to speed up this process is to have a good 'Follow Up' plan for those you make contact with. You might consider doing some of the following to make your network feel special: ? In today's digital world we are used to sending and receiving emails - but to impress someone you have just met and you want to develop a relationship with, send a hand written note saying how glad you were to make their acquaintance.

Ask them to send you information about their business. In return, most will ask you to reciprocate. You have now begun a business relationship, in an atmosphere of trust.

? Invite your contact as your guest to a function that may be of interest to them. If you pay for their entrée it will still be an economical way to promote you and your business while ensuring they feel quite 'chuffed' at receiving the invitation! ? Send a newspaper or magazine clipping with a personalised note added to it, to bring something of interest to their attention. I remember a business acquaintance sending me a clipping which I responded to and ended up winning a $20,000 grant for a project I was developing. How important do you think this network contact became to me? Be proactive by networking different contacts together that you feel may be appropriate. You have to have a good memory, and make use of your data base to ensure that this approach will work. And at all times be conscious of 'What Can I Do For You'.

If you do this well and often enough, you will soon have a number of people asking you for assistance. Every time you assist a contact, it allows you to ask for a favour in return. By building your network in this fashion you can be guaranteed of an increase in customers and sales.

Barbara Gabogrecan is considered to be a networking guru as she has built 3 businesses by networking. For a free copy of 'Making Networking Work' go to http://www.micronavigator.com.au/index.php?module=Website&action=EmailForm&content=1147121057754-2179&parentContent=1136158606687-3535

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