John Anderson
Sarah Spence

Member Article

The Business of Christmas

By John Anderson, CBE, Chariman of the North East Business and Innovation Centre

When I hear the word Christmas I think of it in the traditional sense, goodwill to all and peace on earth and I have to confess it is my favourite season.

For many this time of year means parties and presents but for a business owner it could mean so much more. It can be a worrying month; perhaps your goals for 2012 have not been met, fear of being behind on sales, increased absence of staff taking extended holidays and to top it all off it can be difficult to bring in new business. Or is it?

There can be many opportunities available at this time of year for example you are most likely to meet new people as you socialise more and attend a few parties to say the least. So as the invitations keep coming in try to say yes to as many as you can, they can be a wonderful networking opportunity.

Networking doesn’t have to be traumatic nor is it a waste of time. If done properly, with the right approach it can generate a significant amount of business for your company. When you have a strong network you will find it easier to get calls returned quicker which can make you more efficient and productive. This could lead to more business, new contacts, more clients and your company continuing to grow.

If 98 per cent of businesses rely on referrals to gain new clients, but only three per cent have a strategy in place for this then we are all missing a trick.

In my own experience I have found that to be more successful in networking and to gain recommendations you must build up a rapport first. Avoid talking about your business, its products and services and focus on yourself instead. If you tell a personal story you will be remembered…and hopefully liked.

Don’t forget to be prepared; have plenty of business cards on you at all times and build a relationship up with new people.

But above all else just remember that this time of year is about giving, being more helpful and most importantly embracing the true Christmas spirit.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sarah Spence .

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