As we come to the end of another eventful and challenging year, the wisest business owners are setting goals for 2022. According to a report in the New York Times, over one-third of business owners put generating new business at the top of their goals list.
But how do you achieve that goal? A study by Forbes magazine shows that global brands spent £1trillion a year in 2019 on marketing. That’s a massive sum and the ability for smaller organisations to stand out in such a massive market is limited.
So, how do you generate new business successfully? Relationology is based on the importance of authentic relationships and that’s where to start. Spending on advertising and marketing may help you spread your wings, but mastering authentic relationships will make your organisation fly.
Here are five very practical strategies for generating new business and new relationships.
I remember reading the London Evening Standard and an interview with the incoming chief executive of a bank. It was a fascinating read and in the interview they mentioned something that he and I had in common. At that moment, I decided I would like to meet the man himself. I decided to write a letter to him to congratulate him on his appointment and I mentioned the interest that we had in common and offered to take him out for a drink.
Amazingly, he very generously accepted and we started a relationship. He has since moved upwards in his career and done some amazing things; at the same time, he has become a good friend to me. He's one of my mentors and his family foundation helps fund the NGO that I lead.
For every story of great success, I can tell you dozens of stories of the door being slammed in my face. Self-introduction completely ignores the high risk of rejection, but when it works it can be really powerful.
I describe the facilitated introduction as ‘de-risked’ self-introduction because you get someone who knows you and the person you want to meet to facilitate an introduction. There is a transfer of trust between the introducer and you because they trust the introducer. As a result they will begin to trust you enough to get the door open.
When it comes to client recommendations, you are unlikely to know that they are taking place. Someone who has used your services will tell another person about you during a chat. This all goes on in the background, but beware that this conversation can be negative as well as positive! If you've done a bad job for someone the discussion might not be a recommendation at all.
During lockdown in 2020, I did a piece of work for a company that went very well. A couple of months later, someone reached out to me and said, “Matt, you were recommended to me – could we have a conversation?”
That happened and it led to new work, which shows how powerful client recommendations can be.
Targeted referrals are like gold! These are when someone has a need for your services and someone refers you to that person at their point of need. It’s not an introduction or a recommendation, it is a referral for business.
At the end of all the Relationology Academy courses, I ask people if they would be happy to make a targeted referral. I ask if there is anyone they know who might benefit from what they've just experienced on my programme.
The advocates of your brand are not always clients of your business, but they love what you do. They will go out there and tell other people – they are like evangelists for the cause.
I’m an Apple user; I have an Apple Watch, Apple iPhone, Apple Tablet, Apple MacBook – basically I’m a fan. Somehow, Apple manages to engage their customers and make them passionate fans.
There are all sorts of products and services that people become an advocate for. People get very passionate and become brand advocates – whether that is for Uber, a clothing brand or a particular TV channel or radio station.
These are the five strategies I implement and I rank them in order. At the bottom are the low cost ones. Making a self-introduction costs you nothing, whereas building targeted referrals and brand advocates costs a lot of time and money and continuous long-term investment in relationships.
If you’d like more strategies to use relationships to help your organisation succeed, you can check out the Relational SuperPowers course. As a distance learning programme, you can complete it at your own speed.
If you are looking to set goals for 2022, then take part in one of our Masterminds. They take place globally, making them easy to access. 91% of people who take part have reported reaching their goals in 100 days.