Increasing your circle of influence offline can help you expand your client base. Your circle of influence is the group of people that make up your friends, family, current clients, acquaintances, etc.
When you increase your circle of influence offline, this opens up new possibilities for your business. You may meet someone in need of your services, or someone who will recommend your services to others.
You can increase your circle of influence offline by joining networking groups, clubs, and other organizations. Some examples would be your local Chamber of Commerce and the American Business Women’s Association. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the other members. They are all there to network and grow their businesses, too.
You can also meet new people by taking a class. You can take a class at your local college or check into a hobby-type class such as knitting or French cooking. If you are a parent you have the opportunity to meet many new people every day at the park and your children’s school. Get to know the parents of your children’s friends.
Volunteering is another great way to meet new people. You can also get to know people by frequenting the same places often. If you get coffee every day at around the same time, you will most likely get to know some of the other patrons who get their coffee at the same time. You will also get to know the people behind the counter.
When you meet someone new, smile and introduce yourself. Try to make small talk about a subject you both have in common. If the town you live in is expecting a snowstorm, you can chat about that. If you are both standing in line to pick up your children from school, ask what grade their child is in. If you are at the video store and someone picks up a copy of your favorite movie, tell them how much you loved it.
Your first conversation with the person does not need to include what you do for a living. If you have a quick, friendly conversation with them, the next time you see them you will recognize each other and say “hello”. After a time, you will feel comfortable around the person and can start talking about your business.
Remember, If you want a referral, ask for one. You can say something like, “if you ever know anyone who needs help with their website, let me know”. That simple statement could open up a whole conversation. The person you are talking to could have been looking for a website or perhaps the company they work for is thinking about taking their business online.
Stay friendly and open while you are meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to mention your business, and you will see your circle of influence widening and your client base expanding.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.