Last summer, I began work on writing my course, Relational SuperPowers. The course helps you develop the ability to build effective business relationships by focusing on 7 ‘SuperPowers’.
By carefully working on these, you can create valuable strategies that help you collect, keep and grow your business relationships.
One of those who has taken part in SuperPowers is Denise. She recently told me that thanks to the course, she now knows how to effectively keep in contact with all those relationships. It was something she thought was too difficult to do before the course, but it is now helping her transform her business.
The third SuperPower explores how authentic business relationships can help create new opportunities for you. I would like to share the five strategies that can help you generate new business and relationships.
Five steps to new business
A friend of mine runs a film-making business and he helps organisations capture the essence of who they are and what they do in a short film. It's just brilliant.
He was working at home one day at the kitchen table when Mother Nature called, so he went off to the bathroom. As he sat there, he found his wife had left a pile of magazines for just such an occasion! He picked the first magazine from the top of the pile, which turned out to be a brochure for a clothing brand. As he looked at the incredible pictures, he thought, “Wow, if they can do this in print, imagine what they could do on film.”
After heading back to his kitchen table, my friend Googled the name of the chief executive of the business. He managed to find his email address and sent him a note to recall the events from earlier in the day, though probably not the entire detail! A few days later, he was invited to meet the chief executive of that business and started a business relationship. As a result, they worked together to make numerous films for that organisation.
I have also benefitted from a similar strategy of self-introduction with the chief executive of a big bank. For every story of great success, of course, I can tell you dozens more of the door being slammed in my face! Remember, self-introduction completely ignores the high risk of rejection, and when it works it can be really powerful.
2. Facilitated introduction
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.
3. Client recommendation
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!
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. Sometimes it leads to immediate business, sometimes the initial contact may not result in business for some time. But those connections are very helpful and I encourage you not to lose touch in those instances.
4. Targeted referrals
Targeted referrals are like gold! These are when someone mentions that they have a need for a service and someone refers you to that person because you offer it. 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.
Very often, when those who take part make those referrals, the person they refer ends up buying a place on the next course.
5. Brand advocates
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 care for people.
While the strategies at the bottom of the ladder are low cost, they are higher high risk, high risk of rejection that is! You are much more likely to get turned away by a self-introduction than you are a facilitated introduction.
This is how I generate new business and create opportunities and it can work for your organisation too.
• If you would like to learn how to collect, keep and grow effective and authentic business relationships, we are offering a 50% discount to those who want to learn more from the Relational SuperPowers course. It’s distance learning so you can learn at your own pace, and you receive a free reference book. To claim your discount, visit the SuperPowers page and use the discount code FIFTYOFFRI