February '21

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1 2 G R A P H I C S P R O F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M I ndustry icon and business pro Stephen Capper teaches that "people buy from peo- ple." We all tend to do business with people we know, like, and trust. Companies don't make purchasing decisions, people do. Having a professional network helps open doors that otherwise could not be opened. While networking to meet new prospective customers, and to find and establish vendor relations, is important; what's more important is cultivating and embracing those relation- ships. Networking where you distribute business cards is one and done. Relationship build- ing creates a lasting partnership. You need to be trusted before people will commit to you, your company, and your prod- ucts. The old saying, "It's who you know," comes into play more often than one thinks. And while your personal connections will promote you, this is just the beginning of credibility for your name, brand, products, and service. Like all industries, ours is now competing with unknown online vendors, so building strong relationships with our customers is necessary to keep them from letting their fingers do the walking to find other sources. NETWORKING FUN Besides taking time to rest up, the spring/summer season is a great opportunity to work on ways to prospect, cultivate, and develop new and/or better relationships with our clients. Growing a Professional Network B Y D O N N A M . G R A Y, C R M B Y D O N N A M . G R A Y, C R M

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