Making great connections with potential customers

As a small business owner,  you have most likely been given a lot of advice on in person networking.  And it is essential to learn the art of making great connections with potential customers. 
 
Networking has been used as a business growth tool for decades. Although its face has drastically changed in recent years.
Since it is now so much easier to connect with people, with the advent of social media. The unfortunate thing is that networking rarely (if ever) actually works.
 
And in todays climate – business networking meetings are happening virtually and online . No longer in person (for the moment).
 
Networking for many small cake businesses, may allow for great connections.  But does it networking work in making great connections with potential customers? 

Sadly no – all this effort really does not lead to many customers.

You may find cheaper supplies or potential partnerships. But the time spent networking does little to improve your customer base.
 
Many people are led to believe that networking will provide the a stable base for their business. And build up with little to no marketing costs. (Apart from the price of paying for the networking group).

The fact is, that networking is becoming less and less effective for this each year.

Instead,  a cake business owner’s energies would be much better spent on connecting.
 

Does your current business plan or model include social media?  

As finding ways to connect on social media is a more effective use of time. You can connect with potential partners,  customers as well as dealers.
 
Changing your mindset from networking to connecting can open up many possibilities.
 
Here are a few tips to start the shift.
 

Ask more questions.

Stop talking about your business,  sweets,  prices, etc. for a while. And begin to ask questions of those you meet.
 
Ask possible customers questions that may not relate to sugarcraft at all. Things like the names of their children or pets. Strike up  conversation of something they are interested in. This way you can keep asking questions. You could also ask for advice from them,  such as where the best sushi place is near you or where to take a decent spa day.
 
By taking this attitude you open the door for a mutually beneficial relationship. And this begins building loyal,  raving fans instead of customers.
 
 

Reach out to strangers.

The internet makes it easier than ever to reach out. Connecting you with fellow sugarcrafters,  shop owners,  suppliers  and more.
 
If you happen to see or hear of someone who need help reach out to them. Perhaps they are having trouble with a certain technique. Or with finding a specific tool or ingredient so point them to your favorite retailer. Do this without an interest in personal gain. So you may begin to build bridges for strong partnerships later on.
 

Never miss an opportunity.

 
The most important tip for connecting is never miss an opportunity to do it!

Making great connections with potential customers

This will become second nature after a bit.   While it will take practice at first. Soon you will see more and more opportunities to reach out and connect with people. And this in almost any area or activity.
 
This goes well beyond networking. It means you can connect with any person you come into contact both on and offline.
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