Your direct contacts may provide advice, counsel and support. But, it is THEIR contacts that create a new customer base, provide a supplier, get venture capital or introduce you to the person you need to close a deal. Perhaps the term business networking is a misnomer. Think of it as people networking, because it is PEOPLE that make networking successful.
Your previous customers are going to be valuable to your future business. As you get each new customer you want to network with that customer again in the future, to keep your business in their mind, and to keep them on as a walking and talking billboard for your business. The future of your business is going to evolve to include repeat customers, and referral customers, both of which are vital to the ongoing relationship of your business, the consumer, and the local surroundings of your business.
How can you network with your previous customers?
Even if your customers are online – or if they are offline, you can network with your customers. A simple note, or email is going to do the trick. Ask about their day; talk with them by name, and offer advice or to continue with the conversation when they have time to chat with you. Talk with your customers about what they have purchased, or what work you have done for them. Ask if there is anything that can be done to improve the process, they went through while dealing with your business.
Network with your largest clients by taking them to lunch, or ordering them something special and having it delivered to their home. As you continue to acknowledge your largest clients, they will keep you fresh in their minds. They will tell others about what you have sent to them, and how they feel about your business. Of course, this is not done with every type of business, but with the largest buyers who are spending thousands of dollars with a particular business perhaps.
The online business is going to use newsletters, ezines, emails and coupons sent to previous customers as a method of networking and keeping in contact with previous customers. Keeping the lines of communication open with a customer, and with a previous customer is going to increase awareness of your products, and what you have for sale. This in turn is going to increase sales, one repeat customer at a time.
Never forget about your previous customers. In the offline business, and in online business you can network with your previous customers by creating mailing lists and using these mailing lists. State something along the lines of – because we have done business in the past, we find that now is the time to offer you this great advantage in Networking we have, and would like to give you a special price. Yes this is still advertising, but networking at the same time because you have established a relationship with that customer already.