"I think it all comes down to relationships - how I treat my wife, how I treat my kids, how I treat the guys at the grocery store, all aspects of every day, what I'm involved in."
--- Michael W. Smith
Sales professionals know that one of the sure-fire ways to increase sales is to increase relationships. Relationship building is one of the most rewarding aspects of running a business. The rewards come in many forms including developing life-long friendships.
People buy from people they like and who they feel comfortable with. Building relationships affords you an opportunity to plant the seeds of growth in order for your business to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.
"Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships."
--- Ross Perot
Gaining clients' confidence and trust in you and your company is key to developing good business relationships. Too often sales people or other company representatives go into meetings like 'gangbusters' deluging clients (or potential clients) with too much information and barely drawing breath.
Relationship building is all about the fact that at the gut level, it is you that they buy. Clearly, they are interested in what your company has to offer or you wouldn't be having meetings with them in the first place, but for the duration of those meetings you are the company.
This means that it's less about your product and a whole lot more about how you connect and engage with your client. You need to have the skills to engender trust, understand your client's needs and get under the skin of what is going on their company.
"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great."
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The value of networking is probably understood by most business people, but the process used in some networking groups actually stifles the development of relationships. Speed networking, like speed dating is starting to spring up in business communities around the country. While it serves its purpose for introductions (if you can do it quickly), it doesn't provide an environment for building solid business relationships.
Begin relationship building by starting with your inner circle. That is, your vendors, suppliers, and anyone that provides support in some way for your business. Then, branch out from there. Call on regular customers to have coffee, lunch, or take golfing. No hidden agenda, just be yourself and listen, listen, listen. Learn the needs of your customers. Find out what hurts them and what helps them.
"In any restaurant of this caliber, the chefs are in the same position, building relationships."
--- Thomas Keller
It takes time to build relationships, but it is well worth the effort to clear some calendar dates and make the time. Sign shop owners, suppliers, and manufacturers that we've met over ten years ago remain good friends of ours, as well as customers and people that we can call on for insight and advice and they feel the same way about us. It didn't start out with us trying to find out what we can get out of these folks (nor what they could get out of us), but how we can help each other.
"Cherish your human connections - your relationships with friends and family."
--- Barbara Bush
People enjoy doing business with people they know, like, and trust. This may seem an elementary concept, but it is often lost in daily business. Successful business relationships do not develop overnight. They require consistent nurturing over a period of time, typically at least one year. This fresh beginning of 2010 is the perfect time to expand your business contacts and build new friendships.
Positioning Graphics for Successful Installation
By Rob Ivers
Excerpt from PDAA Vinyl Installation Proficiency Guide
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The Care and Feeding of Digital Displays
By Louis M. Brill
As message formats evolve into more disparate media platforms including electronic billboards, LCD displays, cell phones and computers, so must the content conform to each platform.
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