Who do you already do business with?
Who do you call if your air conditioner craps out? Where do you take your car to get serviced? Did you use a realtor to buy or sell your house? Do you pay someone to mow your lawn or clean your teeth or cut your hair or watch your kids?
You’re probably doing business with a lot more people than you realize. This is a great source for you to expand your own business!
Do Business With People You Like
Here’s the thing: people do business with people they like. If you consistently do business with someone, you probably like the product or service they provide. So, why not ask them if they are open to doing business with people who do business with them?
If he’s a smart business owner, he will say yes.
If you have a product or service you think would be a good fit for anyone you are currently doing business with, see if they are open to at least taking a look at it. This is a great way to mutually benefit each other. Plus, you can send each other referrals.
A few people I currently do business with that are also my customers include my chiropractor, my independent insurance agent and my friend who set up our security system.
So, how do you approach someone to see if they are open to this? The best way is just to straight-up ask. But make sure you have the intent of mutual benefit. If you have been doing business with them for a while, then you have already brought them value. In my experience, most business owners are going to be open.
The Way Not to Do It
Now, some things to avoid: Don’t be pushy or salsey. Focus on the benefit you and your product or service can bring them. Why do they need it? How will it help them personally and/or professionally. This is no different from any of your other potential customers or clients.
Find a way to refer business to each other. If you have already been doing this, then you have a lot of leverage. Of course, don’t throw this in their face.
DON’T: “Hey, I’ve brought business to you so I figure it’s time for you to repay the favor.”
DO: “Hey, just curious, are you ever open to doing business with people who do business with you?”
You’re just seeing if they are open to the idea. If they are (which they should be), then move ahead with seeing they are open to trying your product or service, But again, focus on the value it will bring them.
If you are a little shy about this, check out these 7 Networking Tips for Introverts from Inc.
What if They Say No?
This might hit you as a surprise. Anyone you’ve been bringing business to a while who shuts down the idea of doing business with you, well, you might want to rethink continuing to do business with them.
But that’s just me. This is a huge principle for me, because it just makes so much sense. Why not do business with people who do business with you? Here’s the way I see it: if I’m already bringing value and income to someone, and they have an opportunity to do the same for me, they need to at least consider it.
Of course, there will be instances when it just might not be a good fit. Maybe they don’t need or can’t use the specific product or service I have, but if they aren’t even open to taking a look, I’ll be open to taking my business somewhere else.
This concept is a great way to expand your business. So, write down all the people you already are doing business with and see who’s open to this concept. Leave a comment below on how this has worked out for you. You also might want to check out Huffington Post’s networking tip resources. It has a lot of good tips for business networking.