AOPA National Assembly attendees are tired—I know I am.
We just got home from a great show where we learned about refined microprocessor knee technology, critical information about reimbursement, pedorthic treatment options, and more. We networked, exchanged business cards, and are now armed with scanner notes, ready to get back to work. At my desk this morning, I came across this article and I gathered some key points from it that I thought would be salient to all of our businesses. Enjoy!
Build Social Capital
Social capital is the value behind your social contacts or the resources available through your personal and business networks—information, ideas, lead generation, new opportunities, support, and more. The core of social capital is trust, and it depends on who you know and how you interact with those contacts. So how do you gain social capital? Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Follow up with customers. Some of your best referral sources are past clients. Don’t forget about them! Follow up on a project. Ask them if there’s anything else you can do to help. Be responsive, and take action if they have questions or complaints.
- Make a list of people you want to stay in touch with. Yes, you’ve met people at tradeshows or through a networking group, but have you been in contact with them lately? It’s great to expand your network, but make sure you’re creating a quality one, sending promising contacts cards during holidays, making personal phone calls, meeting them for coffee, or participating in other activities to remain connected to them.
- Contact people who referred your business. Thank people for referrals, and learn more about them so you can refer potential business to them.
- Give referrals. Referrals are not only beneficial to the company or person you’re recommending, but they’re also helpful to you and the individual seeking your advice. It can foster reciprocity within your network, and hopefully encourage social contacts to return the favor in the future. Referrals also demonstrate to individuals that you’re a resource, and they will be grateful for quality recommendations. (Make sure you’re familiar with the person or organization you’re sending them to, though.)
To learn more, here is the full article from Entrepreneur Magazine, “Four Steps to Building Social Capital.”