Laura Neubauer: Why good results can be had when you find opportunities to work with your competition

Marketing seems to be a weakness of most business owners. We are great at our core business, but when faced with a myriad of marketing options in today’s digital world, it’s often easier to do nothing at all.

Marketing needs vary based on the point you are at in your business cycle. In the early stages of my company, I needed to grow, but didn’t have the funds or resources to do much marketing.

But the techniques I put in place were so successful that I continue to use and share these methods today.

Here are a few seeds you can plant for your business:

 

The Ask

What else can I do for you? With this question, everyone wins. Asking builds strong client relationships because it gives clients the opportunity to share new ideas that you can expand upon.

You get exponential growth from a single idea, and if widely accepted, the solution becomes part of your standard offering. The client who was the catalyst for the solution takes pride in having been part of a solution that is monetized, and thus the relationship is further strengthened.

I even ask clients for input on my internal company projects — like a new website. The customer feels like they have helped you build your company and that builds customer loyalty and retention. It’s hard to fire a vendor when they’ve helped you build your business.

 

Keep your competition close

Find someone in your market who is doing similar work, but focuses on slices of your business that are outside your specialty. Discuss ways that they can refer potential clients to you for your specialty and reciprocate by referring possible clients in need of their specialty.

Creating this partnership has two benefits. First, both you and your competitor now have a new product you can offer to clients and you both benefit from increased sales.

Second, you both protect your own customer base by being the source of the referral to your respective clients rather than having your clients cold-called by your competition. A strong alliance with your competitor will usually make them think twice before soliciting your customers.

 

Philanthropy and volunteer work

In addition to volunteering for organizations based on my personal values and passions, I learned what some of my customers were passionate about, and, if our values aligned, I joined organizations they recommended.

If you are genuine to the cause, the mutual respect between you and your like-minded customers can be invaluable. You’ll meet other business owners with whom you can form alliances and partnerships, as well as plenty of potential clients. The introductions that are made and the testimonials that are given are endless.

So the art of farming your relationships and attracting new customers rather than hunting them will not only generate revenue growth, but will also produce a more stable and protected client base that you can continue to build upon into the future.

 

Name: Laura Neubauer

Title: President

Company: National Association of Women Business Owners – Orange County

Laura is a native of Orange County and the founder of 4 Every Athletes Dream, a nonprofit that supports young athletes in competitive sports.

Reach her at (714) 630-2983 or www.nawbo-oc.org

Learn more about NAWBO-OC at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Nawbooc

Twitter: @NAWBOOC.

 

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