As the CRM Director for my organization, I’m always looking for ways to help our staff improve relationships with our customers. Business networking is one way that we can acquire new customers and build more effective relationships with them.
Thom Singer, one of my Toastmaster buddies and fellow business blogger (Some Assembly Required) has written two books on business networking. Recently he published his second book, The ABCs of Networking. He describes it as an “airplane book,” one that can be read in about an hour on an airplane. I read it and found it helpful to me, but I wanted to see if newly hired employees who needed to network on a daily basis would find it relevant.
I gave it to someone who had just been hired for a frontline “people” position days earlier. The other day she e-mailed me back and this is what she said:
I really enjoyed it. It is a quick read – a plus for the busy. It had some points in it that you might not have thought about – different follow up ideas, how to get some of your network together, and marketing even when it is not your intent (while he was shopping). I think that from an experienced marketer, his words offer some best practices. Although things might not work for everyone, he is able to put ideas in your head as to what could work once you hone and make it yours.
I also liked the fact that he kept it simple. He did not “talk down” to the reader, but he kept his ideas quick, simple to remember, and simple to follow. Too many times, a reader will become inundated with information. His steps were easy and simple enough to combine. A lot of what he said is general networking common sense, but many networkers do not think about them enough.
I recommend Thom’s book to anyone dealing with customers, either in B2C or B2B. (Full disclosure: I’ve received nothing of any sort to say this.) By networking with your customers, you’ll get to know them and their needs better. You’ll spend more time interacting, therefore you’ll have more opportunities to sell. You may also be able to bring two of your customers together who don’t know each other now, one who has a need, the other the ability to exceed it. When that happens, I bet they both will be more loyal to you.
Check out Thom’s blog and his books. I’ve already pass other copies along to our major accounts VP and other frontline staff. You should too.