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Follow Your Dollars

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“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” ~~Jim Rohn

My parents used to joke when I was a kid that we built our dentist’s new office.  Braces were expensive, after all.  Seriously, though, I am sure you have some businesses you support on a regular basis—veterinarian, auto repair, eyeglasses, lawn care, and so forth.  When was the last time they returned the favor and sent you any business?

This is actually easier than you might imagine but is not without some effort on your part.

The first thing to do is actually assess the scope of the opportunity available to you.  Rather than trust to memory I highly recommend you get your checkbook(s) and credit card statements and start working through them.  Take the last six months as a representative sampling.  You can add older, bigger ticket items later.

For each vendor (especially the personal local ones although grocery stores and power companies are worth considering, as well) fill out the following details:

  1. Name (business/contact)
  2. Frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc)
  3. Monthly amount
  4. Annual amount
  5. Five year amount

A monthly hair stylist at $40 per visit is $480 per year.  How long have you been going?  Five years?  That is $2400.

You can see that this will add up quickly so do this for every business you work with.  Armed with this you can move to the next step.

Many of these businesses would be willing to work with you; they just do not have a system or viable method.  This is where you must be creative and find that solution for them.

Again, this is easier than it might appear.  Look through your list and tackle those you do the most with and have the best rapport with.

Here are a few examples to get you started.  Certainly, post any other ideas you have, too, to help others.

Let’s start with a Financial Planner that regularly uses the hairstylist (and looks successfully well-groomed as a result, by the way.)  How can these two work together?  As a customer, what does the Financial Planner do when in the chair?  Read, watch TV, chat.  Here is an opportunity—if you can see it.  I recommend that the Planner meet with the Stylist away from the salon where they can talk.  It might be good to actually buy them coffee (or lunch) and recap the relationship before pitching the idea.  Here is a possible scenario.

Dawn: Thank you for joining me.  I wanted us to get away from the salon to talk business.  I have enjoyed being a client for the past five years and was very glad to refer some of my clients to you, too.  I wanted to ask if you would be willing to help support my business, as well.

Carol: I very much appreciate your business and the referrals.  What do you have in mind?

Dawn: As a client I receive your quarterly newsletter and see that you have local businesses advertising in there.  Would you give me space for a year?

Carol:  Gladly, Dawn.  The annual rate is $500.

Dawn: Actually, Carol, I was hoping you would do that at no charge in return for the referrals and loyalty over the years.

Carol: I have never thought about that before, but it makes sense.  I am glad to give you the space.  Is there anything else you would like me to do?

Dawn: As a matter of fact there is.  Could I leave one of my newsletters in your waiting area?

Carol: Please do.

Smart business people can appreciate that reciprocity works both ways.  If your Stylist (in this example) is reluctant you might want to reconsider a different service provider.

What could a veterinarian do for a carpet cleaner?  The carpet cleaner brings her pets to the vet and many of the vet’s other clients have animals that make a mess in their homes.  The carpet cleaner could regularly clean the vet’s lobby.  The veterinarian could include an occasional (or even regular) article on carpet care in his newsletter—written by the cleaner.  The carpet cleaner could leave brochures and business cards in the lobby.  The vet could sponsor a fundraiser or other event.  They could share a business expo booth together.  The possibilities are endless.

Your action step this week includes two components.  First, do the analysis of where you are spending your money.  This is great for budgeting, anyway.  Then, brainstorm all the ways you can work with your biggest vendors and commit to approaching three over the next week.  This is a strategy with a lot of upside potential.

© 2011 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

October 30, 2011 at 2:03 am

One Response

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  1. Awesome financial writing.. keep it up!

    Arno Karssen

    October 30, 2011 at 6:10 am


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