When most business professionals think of networking the immediate thought is networking with other professionals. One very overlooked arena of networking is that of your existing client base. Yes, your clients do network. Not formally and probably not ever with one another, yet they network — with their friends, colleagues, church members and so forth.
Get to know your clients, pay attention to their personalities. Find what Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point , calls The Connector and The Maven in your client base. These clients already talk about you – it is in their nature. However, learning how to identify these clients and then creating methods to make it easy for them to do what comes naturally, is indeed effective.
The Connector this is the person that knows a lot of people. Moreover, the people that this person knows are from diversified social and economic groups. The Connector is friendly and will strike up a conversation with anyone with the sincere desire to learn something, transforming a stranger and a chance encounter in to a friendly and warm experience.
A Connector is curious and is excited to learn about another person. A Connector is skilled at connecting the people that he or she meets with each other.
This is the person that knows his barber’s mother has Alzheimer’s and is in need of in home care. This client also meets with his stock broker that happens to mention that his daughter is working for a home care service that specializes in Alzheimer’s care; who then puts the home care company and the stock broker’s daughter together with his barber’s family.
A Connector finds joy in helping others by connecting the person with a solution to the person with the need. They are effective, in part, because they are wonderful listeners and because they enjoy helping others without expecting anything in return.
A client with a Connector personality, if they believe in your service, will send you more clients than you will ever receive from a professional referral source.
The Maven in the Yiddish language means one who accumulates knowledge. This is the person that loves information. This person takes great joy in sharing with others what they have learned with the intention of helping or assisting you.
This person often times has a wide variety of interests and can offer a fact or opinion to most any conversation. This person can tell you where the best buys are for nearly anything you wish to purchase. They can tell you what businesses in your area have the best reputation for service after that sale and which ones don’t.
Mavens are the type of people that like to pass out coupons, enjoy secret shopping services, will readily take part in a survey and agree to test a product, resource or service.
If a Maven becomes a believer in you and or in your business then you can certainly expect a great deal of referrals directly from this client. This Maven will talk about you to everyone he or she meets that may need or someday need what you offer. This Maven will remain loyal towards you, so long as continue to provide what this Maven has come to value as the true benefit of what you offer.
Naturally, as you network within professional settings, you want to tune yourself in to the Connector and the Maven personalities. These are key people to know. You will want to provide opportunities for these people to get to know more about you.
Do not overlook your customer base! Think of some creative programs that you can tailor directly at your Connector and Maven clients to continuously remind them of the excellent services that you provide to everyone within your community. Help your clients help you so that you in turn can help more clients.
Recommended Books on Why You Should Know Your Clients
- The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing Professional Should Know, Revised and Updated Edition
- Get Clients Now! (TM): A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches
- Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know
- The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
Tammy Harrison is a successful home-based working mom for over five years. She holds a degree from Mizzou in Consumer Economics. Her business focuses on Marketing and Creativity for Small Businesses as well as numerous other small businesses.
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