7 Strategies to Secure Business from Fellow Entrepreneurs When implemented, these seven strategies will be valuable and helpful in growing your brand and ultimately increasing your revenue.
- Know your audience.
- Understand your network.
- Build genuine relationships.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
This article focuses on strategies to assist in the growth of business-to-business (B2B). Growth includes actions that can be taken that can lead to an increase in sales. Although these strategies will typically only increase sales after some time, when implemented, they will be valuable and helpful in growing your brand and ultimately increasing your revenue.
1. Provide value first
Value is a huge buzzword in the business realm. My take on value is to know your audience. For example, in my world of commercial real estate, lease comps take work. Although sales comps are documented, lease comps are typically kept close to the chest. Thus, lease comps are very valuable in the commercial real estate world. If you want to provide value, first, you need to figure out what is beneficial to your potential clients. Once you understand what is valuable, you will be better positioned to collect and share useful data.
2. Build genuine relationships
Referring a business is one of the highest forms of compliments. Anytime I make a referral, I am incredibly cautious. The first thought in my mind is a "what if?" What if the person I referred does not do a good job? To move past this, I need to know the referee well. I must have a genuine relationship with the person I refer. I recommend that you do not try to rush relationships. It takes time to build a real relationship. Being aware of the fact that it takes time to build relationships and putting in the work to build relationships will lead to relationships that result in productive referrals.
3. Utilize online platforms
Many online platforms can be used in the B2B world. One I like to use is Yelp. Business owners appreciate good Yelp reviews. If I have a good experience at a business, I will go on Yelp and leave a nice review. I will then share this review with the owner when I reach out to introduce myself. In addition to Yelp, I also often use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful online B2B platform. Make a solid effort to build your LinkedIn network and post relevant content regularly.
4. Attend industry events and networking functions
Almost every industry has a trade association related to it. No matter what you do, I highly recommend researching associations related to your trade. Find out when their conferences are. Often, trade associations will have national events and regional events. If the national conference is near your location for your first year in business, I recommend you go. If it is not, then I would attend a regional meeting. Regional conferences are often cheaper than national conferences. Additionally, your travel expenses should be less for a regional conference.
5. Prospecting protocol
The B2B world often involves canvassing. When canvassing, it is essential to be careful of your approach. The best way to canvas is to be straightforward and summarize your business and intent. You should not ask for the owner's contact information initially. I will casually ask who the person at your company is that handles that. Then, once I get an answer, I will ask for a business card. The owner often has their cell phone number and email on the card.
6. Become the go-to
No matter what you do, you want to be the top person in people's minds when your business is mentioned. Becoming the go-to is accomplished over time. When people see your successes, it helps you become the go-to. You will want to post on social media about your achievements. This was difficult for me at first since I had a mental block on social media when I first started in business. However, I learned to grow past that, and now I understand the power of social media. In addition to posting about your successes, I also recommend having a blog where you can share valuable information with others. Sharing is caring, and it also assists in helping you become the go-to.
7. Strength in unity
I recently watched a YouTube video on Coca-Cola and McDonald's. The video did a great job showing how both companies partnered with each other and their partnership assisted in success. All businesses have complementary businesses. If you want to utilize the strength in unity strategy, identify companies in your industry or related sectors. Make a list, then approach the businesses on your list. I recommend you start small. Approach one company first and see if they are on board before approaching another. Also, I recommend you thoroughly vet the business first. You do not want unity with another company that does not have the same values as your own business.
I wish you much success in growing your business and expanding your network. Please remember that it does not happen overnight. No matter what strategies you use, I recommend that you commit to the strategies and work diligently on using them to achieve success.