I googled how to network with customers and found nothing. What came up was how to find customers through networking. There’s a lot of talk about networking both in person and virtually. There are articles on where to network, how to network, and what to do after, but they don’t cover everything. They don’t cover how to network with customers. One of the best opportunities to network, and unfortunately one often missed, is with your customers. Here’s why it’s a great networking opportunity.
How to Network with Customers
Your Customers Know You
You’ve built a relationship and developed trust. Some customers may have even become friends. Which sounds more productive to you—networking with a loyal customer or a stranger at a networking event?
Your Customers Understand Your Product
Who to better advocate your product or service than a satisfied customer? If you can name anyone who would be better to network with about your brand, I don’t know who it would be.
Networking Keeps You in Front of Your Customer
Last week I attended a seminar on business development. It was an excellent event, more of an open forum facilitated by a well-informed speaker. Two of the twelve businesspeople attending the event talked about recently losing customers. One was because the customer wasn’t aware of the other services the business offered and the other because they’d lost touch with them. Enough said?
How to Network Customers
Are you convinced you should network with your customers? I hope so. The next step is developing a networking attitude with customers. It’s more than staying in touch with them it’s connecting. Be More Than a Networker be a Connector.
Extend Your Network to Your Customer
Connect your customer to potential clients. Be a lead generator and a cheerleader for them. The best way to build a networking relationship is to help others. Make the first move, and you’ll often reap the rewards.
Stay in Touch
Networking should include, face-to-face time, Zoom meetings, and even phone calls (if the customer appreciates the phone). Don’t forget email, snail mail, and social media. If you’re not on LinkedIn or you have an account your marketing department set up for you that you haven’t used in six months, you’re missing the boat. A salesperson, I worked with landed a multimillion dollar job in 2010 from social media! 2010, 12 years ago! Over 1 Million Dollar Sale from Flickr. Several of the decision makers from this customer moved on to other organizations. The average US worker stays at one job 4.2 years U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By staying in touch with them on LinkedIn, the salesperson secured several new jobs at businesses where these contacts landed.
Ask for Referrals
Think about this. I’ll wager you’ve asked someone who you just met at an event for a referral. You might have asked for an introduction or a recommendation, but you asked. Why wouldn’t you do the same with your customers who know and trust you? How to get More Leads without Working Harder.
Why Do You Network?
If you never network then ignore this. However, if you spend time attending networking events, or network at conventions and seminars, then add networking with your customers to your list. I’m not saying you shouldn’t network at events I’m saying you should also network with your customers. Extend your network to them by introducing potential clients to them. Ask for referrals, and stay in touch. You customer may be your one of your best networking sources.
Are You a Good Networker?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook ,Help Networking started.
My plan probably won’t be your plan. That’s why throughout the book there are worksheets, checklists, and simple CTA’s. Use these to create a networking plan that fits your needs.