When I first launched SystemsRock, I never would have believed it if someone told me that being a business owner was going to bring up the same issues I was facing in my personal life.
Running my company was going to be an amazing experience that I enjoyed from the comfort of my home.
Yes, I’d have to be more disciplined now that I was in control.
But I never expected that I’d have to engage in so much personal introspection in order to resolve business issues.
WHAT HAPPENED. . . .
I wasn’t seeing significant results even though I was creating great content and services.
I struggled to find clients, there was no interaction on my blog, my relationships were superficial, and I didn’t feel I fit into the groups I belonged to.
One day I was so frustrated that I had no choice but to step back and contemplate what was going on.
It turns out that my personal life was affecting my business. . .and not in a good way. The way I was approaching my business was mirroring the offline behavior I adopted every time I moved to a new country.
Moving to a new country means adjusting to new cultures, adopting new norms of behaviors, making new friends, and learning what makes their jokes funny. It’s exhausting.
When I moved with my family to Belgium, I didn’t want to go through that again.
Starting an online business seemed like the perfect idea.
After all, I could just do my thing wherever I was in the world. There was no need to worry about bonding with people or trying to constantly align myself with the needs and norms of others.
I WAS SO WRONG!
Online business is all about relationships.
It quickly became clear to me that I was never going to gain a following if I didn’t pour my heart and soul into them.
It was heartbreaking to leave behind my friends every time I moved, which was one of the big reasons I wanted to keep things in my business impersonal.
But I realized that my online company actually makes it easier for me to maintain connections with clients, potential customers, and colleagues.
Plus, my multicultural experiences make it easier for me to create rapport with anyone, regardless of their nationality.
Without Anne Samoilov’s guidance, I couldn’t have turned things around. And I wouldn’t have progressed this fast without Michael Port’s system.
LESSONS FROM MICHAEL PORT
Michael lifted a huge burden from my shoulders.
His philosophy is that there are certain people we’re meant to serve and others we’re not.
This perspective liberated me from obsessing about being liked by everyone and empowered me to cultivate the right business relationships.
That’s what pushed me to dig into his Book Yourself Solid System. I went on to become a Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach, which made me embrace relationship building even further.
MY NOT-SO-SECRET SYSTEM OF GROWING MY BUSINESS THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS
a. Identify the individuals you’re going to reach out to:
- Potential clients
- Acquaintances you’ve already established rapport with
- Influencers (industry leaders)
b. Do your homework:
- Think of the types of people or professions that aren’t represented in your current network: prospective clients, industry leaders
- Find where they hang out (online groups, offline events) and note avenues to use to get in touch with them (social media, events, introductions through mutual connections)
- Research something of theirs that could help you start a conversation: an inspiring interview, an article, or a cool product
a. Introduce Yourself to New People
Be strategic about who you add to your network. Now that you’ve done your homework and know who to talk to, reach out and start a conversation. Over time, these new relationships will pay off.
b. Nurture Existing Relationships
Hang out on social media. Mention what you’re working on—you might find an influencer to test or review your program. Ask for introductions or referrals when appropriate, like when you come across a conversation where someone mentions their friend is struggling with a problem you help people with.
c. Show You Care
At least once per week, send a card or e-mail to someone in your network just to show you care. Maybe they’re going through a difficult time or have reached an important milestone?
Going the extra mile will keep you on their mind and make them feel better about themselves.
d. Share Valuable Information
Each day, send articles to three people in your network. Share relevant, interesting, and valuable information:
- Industry information
- Strategies, tips, and techniques
- Content from other sources (experts)
- Product and service offerings
- Special announcements
Add a simple note like: “I saw this and thought of you” or “Thought you’d find it interesting…”
e. Make An Introduction
Connect the people in your network with each other. Connecting people with similar interests or who need a referral is beneficial to them—and you. You “get points” for kindness and care. And once you start doing it for others, they’ll reciprocate.
3. PUT AUTOPILOT ON
Keep track of all your activities:
- Set aside time for them in your calendar
- Use a client relationship management system (CRM). Here are my CRM recommendations.
In the beginning, you might feel uncomfortable reaching out to people you’ve never talked to or people who seem out of your league. It’ll take time and money to nurture your existing relationships.
But it will enrich your life and build a supportive network that will help you when you need them.
BACK TO YOU
I’d love to hear from you. How important are relationships in online business? Do you find it easy to maintain relationships online?