If building relationships in your small business is important to you, and you are looking for some new ideas to help you build those relationships, then you will appreciate this list of 15 relationship building activities. Some of these ideas will be easy to implement while others may not be appropriate to your own situations. Use and expand on those that will work and disregard those that won’t. Many of these activities may appear to be more personal in nature, in order to truly build bonds with your peers, your clients and your prospects, you have to get personal on some level.
1. Find a cause you care about that your clients are also passionate about and get involved (provided they also resonate with you). Nothing builds stronger relationships for your small business than when people work together toward a common goal that is greater than the individual’s goals.
2. Read industry publications and find out what your clients are doing. Then let them know you celebrate their achievements by sending copies of the articles and publications you read. Hey, everyone could use an “extra” copy to share or keep in their files. Marketing Small Business Offline means staying connected to your customer.
3. Network for those you do business with. Introduce your clients to others who could be of service. If you know someone looking for a plumber and you just happen to have the perfect plumber, let them know.
4. Know someone looking for a job? Let your circle know about it. Offer to disseminate their resume to your connections. Who knows, you could be the link to the next great job for someone your clients care about.
5. Find out what your clients are interested in professionally. If you know your client is interested in the latest technology, forward articles you read that could help him or her. I subscribe to a number of digital magazines including, trendspotting, engadget and mashable. Each of these offer great advice on the latest and greatest.
6. Ask for their opinions. People like to offer their feedback. It makes us all feel important. If you are working on a project or content for some sort of publication, sharing your ideas with your clients could help them get to know you better and it could make you a better writer in the process.
7. Learn about your clients personal lives. I don’t mean in an obtrusive way, but if you happen to notice she has pictures of children or animals on her desk, ask her about them. People love sharing stories of their “pride and joy” albeit the two or four-legged variety.
8. Send personal gifts for the holidays. When you learn about your clients interests and personal tastes it is easier to send more personal gifts for the holidays.
9. Invite your clients to network with you. If you are attending a networking event that would be of interest to your client, let him know about it. If you have a networking event at your place of business, be sure to invite your clients.
10. Read a good book lately? Share it with your clients. Either figuratively (by telling her about it) or by giving her a copy to read.
11. Make every communication personal. Even if you use “form letters” to market your small business offline, adding a sentence to the bottom lets him know you care enough to take the time to do so.
12. Acknowledge milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
13. Attended a good workshop or seminar lately? Is there one coming up that would interest your clients? Let them know about it.
14. Follow up on any referrals, introductions and leads you send/sent to your clients.
15. Thank your small business clients for their business and referrals. It is amazing to me how many times people take these leads for granted. Thanking people in writing (not just an email, by mail too) will go farther to solidify a relationship than most of the other activities combined.
When you practice these small business marketing activities to market your small business offline, as part of your normal interactions with clients and prospects, your relationships will grow stronger and last a lifetime. They will lead to more business, more referrals and more profit at the end of each year.