Turning members of your community into savvy business owners may take some time. However, the essence of business really is just supply and demand. One way to help your small business clients grow their businesses is to host meetings where they can exchange referrals; and then to encourage them to attend the meetings and to actively participate in them. This has the potential to generate demand for their products or services, and also encourages local small business owners to grow strong and long-term business relationships with their peers.
These events can also include online referral exchanges. Online meetings will not only expand your local business owners’ reach and reputation, but will also give them access to more possible clients.
One of the best ways to kick off these events is to teach entrepreneurs the best way to ask for referrals, so they can achieve their business’ most important goals.
In a November 2015 Inc.com article, contributor Marla Tabaka discussed the, “Reciprocity Circle.” In essence, instead of asking for general referrals, (like asking for a company that helps small businesses improve their marketing); you should encourage business owners to define what their specific goals are and to ask for those.
Therefore, instead of asking a general question, the business owner would ask if anyone knew of a social media marketing company that can help them effectively reach a specific target demographic like young people, mothers or elderly people.
Tabaka encourages business owners to stop and think of who their ideal client or business consultant would be and to define that before attending the meeting. Though it seems shockingly simple; just asking business owners if they have connections with someone who fits the description of their ideal client or consultant is sometimes all they have to do to get several new clients and redefine their business models for success.