Strengthen Business Relationships by Going Offline

One of my friends from college worked as an events planner at a non-profit right after she graduated. Planning for a major fundraiser, she spoke regularly with a board member of her organization who was also a corporate contact at a bank. At one point, he mentioned to another board member that she was taking up a lot of his time.

When she got wind of that, she sent him a card that included a gift certificate to Starbucks, a bunch of plastic bugs, and a note that read, “Sorry I keep bugging you—thanks for all your help!” When he got the card, he called her laughing. And then he offered her a job.

Why did this work? Because my friend mastered one important thing: the know, like, and trust factor. Here’s how to make it work for you.

The Magic of Offline Networking

Online networking is great for a lot of reasons: it’s efficient, tidy, and it allows you to connect with people you might never have a chance to meet in person. But it can also be impersonal and cold, which is why it shouldn’t be the only way you reach out to your business contacts.

The good news is that a little offline networking goes a long way. Try some of these networking strategies to really connect . . .

  • Pick up the phone. We all know that email is convenient, but it can also be frustratingly inefficient when you’re trying to work out details. Next time you need to have an in-depth conversation, plan a phone call—you’ll save all parties the hassle of sifting through clogged inboxes and trying to decipher typos. Plus, voices can communicate nuances that emails can’t, meaning you might be able to head off problems you wouldn’t have seen coming on the screen.
  • Send a card. Bug-filled or otherwise, a simple card (thank you note, birthday wish, congratulations, etc.) communicates your commitment in a way that email does not. A brief, genuine message will stand out in any batch of mail.
  • Go to a live event. Find out what your clients do for fun and join in. You may not meet any prospects, but you’ll learn about the people you serve—and that will help you serve them better.
  • Meet up. In the same area? Meet in person. Even though you’ll have to invest extra time up front, you’ll spend that time getting to know your client better, which will help you invaluably down the road.

The Know, Like, and Trust Factor

In medicine, they call it the “bedside manner.” In business, we call it the “know, like, trust factor.” What it boils down to is that, unless you have a monopoly in your field, your clients have a choice between you and someone else.

They’ll choose you if they feel like they know, like, and trust you more than the competition. The best way to get your clients to feel that way is to genuinely cultivate those three things . . .

  • Network online and in person so that you know them.
  • Be your best self so they can’t help but like you. Manners go a long way.
  • Keep your word so they trust you. If you say you’ll call at a certain time, call then. If you say you’ll send them something, send it. Look them in the eye. Smile.

In many cases, non-digital interactions can build the know, like, and trust factor more quickly than digital ones. Take advantage of the full arsenal of networking available to you!

Tell us about your most successful offline marketing experience by commenting on this blog post. We would love to hear about it.

michelle

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