• 30 Oct 2020 9:10 AM | Kirsti Reynolds (Administrator)

    Written by Kirsti Reynolds, TKR Consulting

    As a small business owner myself I know how important it is to obtain new clients. Building up a client base can be hard work and let's face it, it is how we make more money. However I see a lot of small business owners focusing on building their client base and putting all their marketing efforts into generating new leads. But what if I told you that retaining existing clients is just as, if not more, important.

    Retention is what keeps your business going. Not only can it provide a steady flow of income but it also aids in building brand ambassadors. These brand ambassadors i.e. your dedicated clients are a great form of advertising and the best part is - it's free advertising! These customers are the ones who have no hesitation in providing testimonials you can use on your website or in social media and they are the ones who generate word of mouth recommendations. So, if you aren't doing so already, look after your "brand ambassadors" because you will almost certainly reap the benefits. Next time you speak with them, don't be afraid to ask for a testimonial - I can guarantee you won't walk away empty handed.

    Do you currently focus on retention?

    #retention #brandambassador #smalbusinessmarketing #branding #brandstrategy #marketingconsultant #testimonials #wordofmouth #tkrconsulting #wwibn #wollondillywomeninbusiness

  • 30 May 2020 7:08 AM | Alison Radford (Administrator)

    For many people, the thought of networking makes them go cold or feel full of dread – or both! This article is part 2 of 2 which will give you some great tips and suggestions on how to network successfully and get fantastic results, while building confidence to do it again.

    The previous article gives suggestions on how to prepare for a networking situation.

    This article helps you to make use of those skills and use them well.

    5.  Good, working Target Questions

    Open ended target questions that direct the conversation to an area you feel comfortable with are the best way to start a conversation with someone new. So always have two or three that you know off by heart ready to go - and make sure they are aligned with your intention for the event (2, above).  And have a couple ready for either business or social situations.

    For example, say you were at an event and had the intention of meeting 3 people with whom you could do business.

    Your memorised conversation-opening target questions could be…

    • ‘So, what’s the biggest challenge you are facing at the moment in your company?’ or
    • ‘How do you find working with the market in such a state of change?’

    Now, not everyone is going to provide answers which are relevant to your line of work or interest, but they are still valuable.

    They may not be a potential lead for YOUR business, however, they are going to find out about you and your expertise (which is excellent) and you are going to find out some interesting answers and information about the people you meet.
    You may then meet others who would very much like to know that information and you can be the connector – earning appreciation from both parties and cementing yourself in their memories.  Great Networking!

    6. Redirect the Conversation

    Learning how to redirect conversation when it goes off on a tangent, becomes boring or takes over is a handy skill as you can gently move the focus off the other person and create a group discussion or an opportunity for you to speak.

    To redirect the conversation, ask one of your target questions when there is a natural lull in the discussion or you can interrupt the conversation when there is a pause by saying quietly to the person or group… ‘I have a question I’d like to ask, do you mind if we take the conversation in a different direction for a moment?’

    This works well, as most people will be interested in someone choosing a topic to talk about that’s not industry gossip, the same old conversation etc, especially someone new.

    7. Use Business Cards

    Many shy people don’t like offering their cards to others because they feel its ‘pushy’.

    But you don’t have to one of those people who thrusts their card under any and everyone’s nose. If you ask the other person for THEIR card they will usually ask for yours in return - and you have achieved your goal of getting and giving a card.

    As you never know when you might meet and connect with someone new, in business or socially, so it’s always a good idea to have a few business cards with you wherever you go. Be prepared and ask the appropriate target questions wherever you can,  to create conversation and the opportunity to exchange cards.

    Remember, a business card is a memory jogger for the person you are giving it to. You want to help people remember you and encourage them to get in contact with you. Always follow up by connecting with them– on LinkedIn, Facebook or by email to say it was good to meet them. It will reinforce your memory even further and you will have their contact details electronically and don’t need to keep the card.

    Business cards are the most essential tool for successful networking.

    In summary

    The tag line for BNI global networking is “Givers Gain” – so listening to what others are saying, identifying opportunities, speaking when you have some knowledge or skill to offer and referring others who might also assist is the very best way to network successfully and be remembered with respect.

    Using well thought out, open-ended questions that you have in your memory just for this purpose is a great way to start and direct conversations to your areas of interest or knowledge, and is a useful way for shy people to stop getting ‘tongue-tied’.

    You never know who you might meet socially or through business networking, who you can refer to a business connection or vice versa. Giving of your knowledge and connections will in time come around to help you gain in some way.

  • 30 May 2020 7:00 AM | Alison Radford (Administrator)

    Throughout life, and indeed business as part of that, certain success comes through communicating with others and involving them in your ideas and plans or projects.  This is networking, though you might not think of it as such. 

    Networking is not always a natural and easy activity but is a skill that must be learned and appreciated. 

    You are already part of several networks – your family, friends, school, sports team, colleagues and community. So, whether you are networking formally at business events or informally with people you already know – you are connecting with others. Connecting and building relationships is Networking at its finest.

    Wherever you network there are always people who seem very confident, loud and friendly, and who are everywhere, talking and laughing with everyone effortlessly. If you are a shy person, just thinking about being out there like that can make you breathless, worried and wanting to leave - before you have even said ‘Hello’.

    Read on to get some ideas to help you feel better and network confidently.

    1. Know why you are going

    Before attending a networking event, think about why you are going and what you hope to get out of it – your intention. If you know this before you go, and how you plan to act on it, you will be more confident about it when you are there, and have less chance of being disappointed.

    Intentions can be big or small. For example, intention you could set could be…

    • I am going to have fun tonight,
    • I am going to meet 3 new people at this event, and
    • I am going reach follow up on those people on social media and an email afterward

    Setting your intention before you go reminds you the whole time why you are there and compels you to take action to make sure you get it.

    2. Know about your Event

    You may be naturally shy, however, being stupid or putting your foot in it, is a choice you make!

    If you are a bit overwhelmed about attending a networking event, help yourself before you go. Not by having a fortifying drink but by doing a bit of research - about the host, the type of people expected there, the reason for it and anything special about the event. This way you will you be forewarned and avoid embarrassment or saying something inappropriate.

    The same applies in a social setting; knowing who the host is, the type of people who will be there and their relationships to the host and each other, will make you feel more at ease from the outset.

    If you are more relaxed about the event in general, it will help you remember key names and assist you in conversations.

    3. Be a Listener

    If you think successful networking is all about flitting from person to person at an event, happily talking to everyone, you might be intimidated by those who seem to be good at it. And if everyone is busy talking, no one is listening – and that is where a shy person can have the advantage.

    If that’s you, and you listen instead of talking all the time, you’ll hear opportunities when they come up, will understand what other people need and be in a position to act. For every person that is talking, there is at least one person listening. And that could be you.

    Remember, being shy can be an advantage!

    4. It’s your time to Speak Up

    If you hear an opportunity or idea discussed that fits into your own area of knowledge or business, that’s when it’s your time to speak up. It might be a question, statement of fact or opinion but you MUST speak.

    Being shy does not give you permission not to speak at all; it gives you permission to wait for the right moment and then be heard and to impress.

    When you DO speak, make sure people can hear you clearly and that what you say is easy to understand. Being cryptic, or assuming others understand jargon can appear arrogant and conceited - and doesn’t build rapport, it separates you.

    When networking, you want to make a connection with others, and encourage them to ask questions without feeling silly. Make it easy for both you and for them.

    Part 2 of this article will give you ideas on when to use these skills in a networking environment and how to direct conversations to make YOU feel more confident. .