Recession-proof your business via networking

Follow up. The next day, send them a handwritten note saying you enjoyed meeting them. Put some of your business cards in the envelope.

Go have lunch. Call them the following week (after they get your ticket) to invite them over for lunch or coffee. This is your chance to propose a referral relationship.

Cherish the relationship. Take business cards to their office along with cookies or another treat. Introduce yourself to their staff. Subscribe the owner and their staff to your newsletter. Connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media. Stop by their office regularly with business cards and treats. Take the owner out for lunch every few months, more often if appropriate.

It is common for dealers to have a handful of business owners such as brokers, designers, remodelers, etc., who send them regular referrals. What are these relationships worth? My own informal polls of dealers have shown that the average value of these relationships is between $25,000 and $35,000 in revenue per year, with some superstar relationships being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if you have 10 relationships, that’s $250,000 to $350,000 in free business. If you increase that to 20, 30, or 40 relationships, you can easily generate over a million dollars in additional revenue with virtually no marketing costs. What would you have to spend on advertising to make a million in revenue?

Jim Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, increase sales, increase margins and work the hours they want. For information, visit

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