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    As a small business owner, solopreneur or freelancer, competitors abound as many businesses and individuals offer the same services or products you are offering. Providing value added services or products is not enough to stand out and get people connected to you. It takes a powerful personal and business brand to provide the proof of your character and competence.  When this is evident, people will even lend their credibility to you so their circle of influence will refer others to using your services. You need to show sincere care and value towards others for them to sincerely care and value you.

    Caring for and having a sincere interest in your current customer base gives you an edge over the competitors within your niche. This just makes good business sense. These customers trusted you or your company enough to already do business with you.

    How to show care to your customers

    1. Personalize your relationship with them

    There’s an adage that says – People will quit businesses before they quit friendships. The truth of this adage is even more evident in the small business world; customers feel close to those who address them personally and actively work to nurture a relationship with them. Connect and communicate with your customers using their names and know their preferences and what matters to them.

    1. Keep them satisfied with what you’ve got to offer

    Factually, this is the first way to show you really care to your clients as offering them good and satisfying products or services shows you really care about giving them the best products available. Keeping people not only satisfied but wowed by the services and products you provide is the first challenge that must be mastered before people will connect you with their circle of influence.

    1. Listen and respond to them

    Business owners must learn to listen to what their customers have got to say  – the good, the bad, and the ugly.   Whether through comments, polls or suggestions, listen and respond to your customers.

    1. Do not hesitate to appreciate them

    It is part of human psychology to feel valued whenever you are appreciated. Therefore, you must never hesitate to appreciate your customers and connections. Personalized introductory or ‘Thank you’ notes can go a long way in making your customers feel loved and appreciated.

    1. Help your customers

    If you truly care about someone, helping that individual whenever you have the power to do so will never be something hard for you. From useful tips to foolproof advice, there are many simple ways you can employ to provide help to your customers and make them feel they are important to you.

    1. Give them rewards

    Giving tangible rewards to customers has always proven to be one of the most effective ways to make them connected to you. It will also make them delight in referring others to you. Gifts, promos, discounts and coupons are some of the things you can use to reward your customers.

    Let your customers know you care, and that will provide volumes in strengthening your relationship with them and getting connected or referred to others.

    Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat- a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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