Building Business Relationships Online to Build Your Offline Business

When I work with small businesses and sales professionals to bring their businesses online, they often want to see results rather quickly. Keep in mind that you can see results quickly – if you know what kind results you are expecting.

Building a business relationship virtual roundtables takes time, effort, sensitivity and commitment. If your first contact with a prospect or potential referral source is through the internet, then if you have a dialog going with that person, you should consider your internet marketing a success because this is where the relationship starts.

For example, you are a pest control company and you want to attract more restaurants to your business. You make a list of other types of businesses that market to this same target audience. You decided that food supplies to the restaurants would be a great referral source for you.

You decide to join LinkedIn because this is where professionals are networking online. You join several groups that are related to restaurants including Restaurant & Hospitality Experts and Chef Network. You start looking at the other members of the group and find a food supplier in your local area. You study their profile and use some interest points in your connection request. After they have accepted your connection, you send them a private message and ask them about their business. Once you have started the conversation, then you can move to a phone conversation and maybe meet over coffee.

Have you made a sale? No. Was you internet connection a success? Yes. You have started to build a relationship that can lead to many introductions to key people in your target market.

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