How persistent are you when it comes to your business? Do you pull out all the stops, or do you sit back and wait for things to happen to you?
Let me let you in on a not so little secret, in order to really get ahead in your business, you MUST be persistent. You must connect with people, send emails, and put yourself into uncomfortable situations– These are the things that will get you ahead and help your business grow.
I bet some of you who are reading this, saw “put yourself into uncomfortable positions” and started to turn your mouse towards the ‘X’ at the top of the page, but let me tell you that it is often those uncomfortable situations that can lead to the most expansive success.
We all know that starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart, AND we know that hearing a NO doesn’t mean failure (instead, it means we’re closer to our YES), but just SAYING you’re starting a business isn’t enough. You need to put yourself out there, just like our recent guest, Emily Page of Pearl Resourcing, did.
Put Yourself Out There
When Emily had first decided to buy her new business, she went to a trade show and acted as if she knew everything about packaging. She spoke with probably 200 people, answering questions she wasn’t sure if she even had the right answers for.
She hadn’t even completed the purchase of the company and was out at the trade show making connections. Telling people about her products. She believed in herself and her ability to create great packaging for people that she hadn’t met before. And, she walked away from that trade show a success, she had gotten 1 purchase order and had 24 others that were interested in potentially working with her in the future. But, do you know how long it’s taken for some of those 24 leads to actually turn into business? 3 years!!
Business isn’t the short game!
Here’s what’s important to remember, though. Those people didn’t just come up to Emily and give her their business, she had to WORK for it.
She had to ask them questions about their current packaging, and where their business was headed in the future. She had to go into other trade show booths and talk to people she’d never met before, and she had to take samples with her and hand them out. All things that put her, and would probably put you, in an uncomfortable situation, but she did it anyhow.
Think about it– Do you do what you KNOW you should do to make the necessary connections in your business?
Don’t Ever Give Up
People are going to tell you NO. Plain and simple. You might not want to hear this, but it’s true.
There are going to be businesses that you are in love with and that you desperately want to work with. The ones you’ve been doing your due diligence to build the solid relationships with, yet they continue to tell you NO.
I realize that hearing NO isn’t always easy, but DON’T GIVE UP!
Start doing your research. Consider doing some professional stalking. This is where you look deeper into where the business you desire to work with hangs out, or other people they work with. Then, determine if you already have some connections with those other people or businesses. If you do, reach out to them and ask for an introduction. Or, better yet, ask them to refer you to your dream business!
Businesses love connecting with referrals because they know they can trust them.
Emily did something similar. She had been working to connect with a chocolate manufacturer for years. Reaching out, not just sending sales emails, but funny ones, ones just to check in, but they just kept turning Emily away.
Eventually she realized that this chocolatier was going to be working with William-Sonoma, and Emily was able to find a contact within William-Sonoma and reached out asking them to refer her when the time came for the chocolate manufacturer to look for new packaging.
William-Sonoma referred her and shortly after she received an email and a purchase order from her dream company. [Yes this Company ignored Emily for a while, but being persistent paid off BIG TIME!]
Persistence pays off!
You Can’t Just Set It and Forget It
When it comes to owning a business, there’s no way you can just set it up and then let it go on autopilot. You’ll never grow!
Once you’ve gotten your business off the ground, and you’re beginning to step into those uncomfortable situations, you also need to nurture the relationships you’ve already made.
You can’t just make a connection with a business, receive their business and then forget about them. You need to continue emailing them, calling them and connecting with them. Nurture the business relationship you have cultivated. You want them to know how much you want their business, and how hard you’re willing to work for them.
Devastation In Business Doesn’t Equal The End
Alright, so you’ve landed your dream client, you have spent the better part of a year nurturing them, making them see your value, and all of a sudden, you receive an email letting you know that they’re going to try a different company because the other company can do it cheaper/better/faster (enter your adjective).
What do you do?
The correct answer is you keep in contact with them. You continue to email and follow-up, and you never ever burn a bridge.
Emily had been working with this amazing client, and had invested so much time and money into them. She loved working with them and their brand, but after a year of working together they came to her saying they were moving to a different company, who could do the work cheaper.
Emily was devastated, but she kept communication open and after working with the other “cheaper” company, they came back to her because the other company was unable to keep up with their orders and requests.
In the end, Emily received their return business because she respected their choice in the beginning, despite being devastated.
This is an ALL too important of a lesson to remember. Burning a bridge in business is one of the ill-advised things you can do. We are all connected somehow, and you just never know when you’ll need the help of others.
As entrepreneurs, I think the biggest thing that we need to do is just pick up the phone, send a message and make real, genuine connections. It’s really the only way to get a YES! And, never give up after just one attempt at contact. Keep going and BE PERSISTENT!