Looking after our network


It’s a curious fact of human nature that many of us pay more attention to keeping track of our success at recreational activities than we do tracking our success at the fundamentals of building our business. Avid golfers can tell you their handicap & recount, in detail, the last round they played. But how many of us can give a detailed account of the things we did last week to strengthen our referral network.

Three years ago the company used to wonder, why didn’t we get more word of mouth referrals? We know were good at what I do, but only a few of past clients or friends ever refered us. In 2008 for example only around 10% of our turnover was initiated from word of mouth, however we’re getting better as in 2010 it’s some 30% …. So something is happening!

One of the reasons is we have a better website, we have recognisable brand, and now a blog. The company has referral strategy, and we members of a BNI business group which trains us. Our BNI teams shares business networks and contacts. Ultimately we are better organised and we are getting better at staying in touch with Clients and this is why are being referred.

We’ve asked our selves how often should we stay in touch with that person? Looking n the internet we found some rules suggested by BNI founder Ivan Misner. Here are his rules of thumb for keeping in touch and for nurturing relationships. These tips have helped us keep in touch with our customer base and strengthen our business relationships.

1. Spread out your contacts.

Regardless of the type of relationship with your clients, regular contact is generally good. Two short meetings or phone calls are more beneficial than one long session. Each meeting becomes an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and to enhance your visibility and recognition.

2. Schedule predictably.

Stay in touch with your clients regularly. Train them to expect to hear from you at certain times. For example, if you usually contact certain customers during the first week of every quarter, they will come to expect it and will budget time for you.

3. Make each contact lead to the next.

Before concluding a meeting or telephone conversation, schedule the date of your next contact. In written correspondence, close by stating the date your customer should expect to hear from you again: "I’ll send you a note or e-mail by the end of the quarter." This practice establishes a chain of contacts, with each meeting leading to the next.

4. Assume responsibility for making contact.

You can’t control whether clients will contact you, but you can control when you contact them. Take the initiative; stay in touch with your customers. This is especially important for your most important clients. When clients or customers do not feel cared for, they are more likely to try someone else. By staying in touch with them, you are much more likely to head off potential problems down the road.

5. Invite them to networking events.

One way of making sure to stay in contact with your customers is to invite select ones to some of the networking events that you go to. This is a great way to meet with them periodically while getting you out of your cave to network and to meet other people.

6. Stick to your plan.

As you achieve success in establishing routines with your sources, some of them may begin taking initiative with contact. Don’t let this interfere with your contact schedule–that is, when they initiate the call, don’t count it as one of the contacts you’ve scheduled.

Happy times and here’s to good business health.

Building Doctors


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