Networking — Business Best Friends - dummies

Networking — Business Best Friends

By Belinda Ellsworth

Business best friends is a term used to describe a relationship between two business owners — in your case, independent direct sales representatives — who share a mutually beneficial relationship.

One way to grow your reach and network with other like-minded people is by developing relationships with representatives who represent a company different than your own. You typically meet these people through social media, tradeshows, home parties (you can book a party with a consultant from a company you would be interested in working with), and other vendor events. The two of you work together to promote each other’s products and services so that you can each grow your audience by tapping into each other’s customer bases.

Here are some important tips to remember:

  • Same demographic: Business best friends should always have similar demographics for their customer base. If your product line typically attracts women ages 45–55, then you should work alongside someone whose products also attract that age group. The point of a business relationship of this nature is to refer your audience to your friend when they are in need of her service or product and vice versa.

  • Different product lines: You don’t want to be in competition with your business best friends, because then you will always be taking sales away from each other. Instead, find a rep whose products complement yours. For example, a cookware company and a food company, cosmetics company and jewelry company, or decor company and cleaning company would be great matches.

  • Being authentic: Even though I’m mentioning this last, this is probably the most important point of the three. You don’t want to develop a fake relationship in order to benefit from a business best friend. Developing an authentic and trusting friendship is not only a great way to increase your reach, but to gain a friend who is like-minded and who also believes in direct sales. Friendship is one of the reasons people join companies and stay in the direct sales industry. Establishing lifelong friendships is both rewarding and fulfilling.

So, how does it actually work? Here are some ways you and your business best friend can work and benefit from each other:

  • Special giveaways on social media: Your business should be on at least one of the following: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Social media is a great way to reach your customers and gain new followers. In the world of social media, engagement is king; engagement determines whether your content makes it into newsfeeds and ultimately who sees your posts. Engagement on Facebook for example is measured by three actions: Likes, Comments, and Shares. You should be sharing interesting content that includes calls to engagement. For example, “Like if you agree,” “Comment below with your answer,” and “Share this photo with your friends and family.”

    Contests and giveaways are great ways to increase your engagement through Likes, Comments, and Shares and get more people falling in love with your products. Most companies offer contests for people who comment on a post or submit their own content. In this case, you select a winner and send them free product. Just always be sure to check Facebook’s policies on contests and giveaways. For example, Facebook permits contests focused on Comments and Likes to Comments, but not on page Likes or Shares. Contests and giveaways are especially great if you offer new products, because many of the people who already like your fan page have either tried your product or are at least familiar with it.

    A great way to get your fans excited and sharing your content is to offer them something new. Work with your business best friend to offer giveaways on each other’s social media. Your fans will be excited by the new product you’re giving away from your friend’s business, and you’ll gain new, excited followers through her page.

  • Referral gifts: Referrals lead to new customers, hosts, and recruit leads. Everyone at some point in their life will need your product, a fun night out with friends, or the benefits from having a home-based business. And when you meet someone at a time when they aren’t interested, find out if they know someone who is.

    Your business best friend can be a great tool in helping you gain referrals. The two of you can offer each other referral gifts when you refer someone (a customer, host, or recruit lead) to each other.

  • Open houses: Again, the main benefit of having a business best friend is cross-promoting your products across each other’s customer base and audience. Holding an open house together is a great way for you to meet new people, gain more customers and bookings, and achieve additional sales.

  • Advice: Your business best friend can be an amazing resource for training, information, advice, and motivation. You can lean on each other, cheer each other on, and help each other build lasting and successful businesses. That’s the amazing thing about this industry — that you all work together to help each other succeed.