When it comes to promoting your business by going to network functions, events, and even marketing in general, there is usually one question that hovers over you at the beginning: “When is this going to start working?”
We’ve all been there in different aspects of our life. When we began to walk as infants, we didn’t just walk. We ran, even if it was because we were just trying to keep up with out momentum. When it came to learning to drive, we all wanted our license as soon as we completed our road test.
In business, we usually want that money rolling in, RIGHT NOW! Which is fine, but not always the best approach. Business networking is about building relationships. Fly-by-night clients aren’t what makes a business grow and thrive. It is the clients that you develop a rapport with that come to you whenever they need your services, for months, years, even decades. Business relationships develop trust, which draws out loyalty, which leads to more networking.
As an example, let me tell you about how I found my current hair stylist. When I first started going to get my hair cut on my own, and not at my dad’s barber, I found a hair stylist that just seemed to get my hair right, for a decent price. It took a few adventures, but I found her, and continued to go to her for three years. how’s that for loyalty? Well, it gets better. That stylist moved, so I was stuck looking around for that perfect cut at a perfect price, usually with some problematic cuttings. Finally, I was referred to a stylist from a friend, and went to her through the end of high school and even into college. I went away to college, and was so loyal that I grew my hair out a little rather than go to another stylist. Then she moved. Once again I searched, was referred to someone, and have been all over Long Island, from Suffolk to Astoria, Queens, to Nassau County for the past ten years, and still always make the trip to my stylist at the center of Long Island.
This loyalty has even extended to other people I do business with. I’ve been going to the same mechanic for ten years. My accountant has been doing my taxes since I got my first job. My car insurance agent has seen me through four cars. These aren’t relationships that just stuck. They have been nurtured, which is why they last so long, with the residuals to match.