Recession-proof your business via networking

Follow up. The next day, send them a hand-written note telling them you enjoyed meeting them. Include a couple of your business cards in the envelope.

Go to lunch. The following week (after they’ve gotten your notecard), give them a call to invite them out to lunch or coffee. This is your opportunity to propose a referral relationship.

Nurture the relationship. Take business cards to their office, along with cookies or some other treat. Introduce yourself to their staff. Subscribe the owner and their staff to your newsletter. Connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media. Stop by their office periodically with business cards and treats. Take the owner out to lunch every couple of months—more often when it’s appropriate.

It’s common for dealers to have a handful of business owners, such as realtors, designers, remodelers, etc., who are sending them referrals on a regular basis. What are these relationships worth? My own informal polls of dealers have shown that the average value of these relationships is between $25,000 and $35,000 in revenue per year, with some superstar relationships being worth hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. So, if you have 10 relationships, that’s $250,000 to $350,000 in free business. If you increase that to 20, 30 or 40 relationships, you can easily generate over a million dollars in additional revenue with virtually no marketing costs. What would you have to spend in advertising to generate a million in revenue?

Jim Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information, visit

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