This is Day 12 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series
Previous post: 14 Tips for Better Email Communication
Cultivating relationships is one of the most important skills you can master in business and in life. You can spend a lot of money promoting your product or service, but it may not be as efficient. Don’t get me wrong, you will still get people to buy, but you will grow your business faster if you set a foundation by building relationships with business owners and your peers.
Whether you have been in business for a long time or just about to launch your virtual assistant business, word of mouth and recommendations from peers is one of the best ways to boost your client base, and in turn, increase your revenue. Here are some relationship building tips that can help get the ball rolling:
Today, we are able to connect with more people anytime and anywhere because of social media. There are no longer any excuses or barriers to cultivate relationships with prospective clients and peers. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend learning and using the different social media platforms. You want to be able to not just share information, but also use these platforms to communicate. You will be more effective if you’re really good on one social network vs. spreading yourself too thin and being mediocre on multiple networks. In my case, Twitter is my favorite network and the one where I’ve gotten nearly all of my clients.
- Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and communities on Google Plus that are relevant to you and your industry.
- Join forums and be active. The more active you are, the more exposure you receive. By being able to showcase your talents and skills, you increase the chance of being discovered. (Join Virtual Assistant Forums!)
- Meet face to face. Attend meet-ups and conferences. Connecting on social media is great, but connecting in person is even better. (My favorite local group is Barcamp Sarasota)
- Give prospective clients an idea of the different things a virtual assistant can handle for business owners with these 239 Tweets to Help Market Thrive Business Accounting Business (also suitable for other social networks)
Learn To Listen More And Talk Less
We all want to be heard. We want our peers and clients to know how much value we can offer. We want them to know our strengths and that we can get the job done. This is all well and good, but if you really want to impress your prospective clients, you must learn to listen more and talk less. In my experience, clients value people who take the time to listen and understand what is needed to complete a project.
Have A Mindset That Your Peers Are Not Your Competitors
To succeed in the virtual assistant business, you must also build relationships with your fellow VAs. Never think of them as your competitors. One of my favorite parts of running my business are the many friendships I have made. We all have different skills and strengths. Being able to put together a team of people that complement each other will go a long way in your client’s eyes and they’re more likely to want to work with you again. The best part is if your clients are happy, they’re more likely to spread the word and send valuable leads and referrals your way.
Give More Than You Receive
There is no doubt that the virtual assistant business is a service oriented business. In order for you to be memorable and grow your business, you need to go above and beyond what is expected. Know your client’s business and do whatever it takes to make your client’s business run smoothly and efficiently. Believe me when I say your clients will appreciate you when they know you genuinely care about them and their business.
Since we work and communicate remotely, trust is very important. Trust can only be earned if you are completely transparent and honest with your clients. Whenever there are projects or tasks I’m unable to accomplish, I make it a point to let my clients know right away. I know you may feel they will see you as incompetent, but believe me, they will definitely be appreciative if you tell them the truth. They’ll be able to better revise plans to still make sure the tasks and projects can be accomplished. Being honest means laying a good foundation in the relationship.
Relationships feed the success for your virtual assistant business. Build relationships with your clients, your fellow VAs and your vendors. The relationships you build will help carry you through challenging times, deadlines and struggles. Building relationships means you need to work at it all the time. It requires effort to maintain. You must be ready to share, give and support.
Do you cultivate relationships with your clients and fellow VAs? How has it been helpful in growing your business? Share your experience by leaving a comment.