Working together for the common good

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More than talking, effective sales means listening and responding to your customer. Every visitor to your business or office is an opportunity to build a relationship that will benefit you and others in your community.

Think of it as selling your town while you are selling yourself and your product. You can be prepared to make a referral as a routine part of every contact. You just have to be engaged and listen.

Of course, your primary focus is connecting with customers to benefit your own business and professional goals, but when you are part of the community you have the opportunity to bring business to the office down the street as well.

Learn some leading questions to encourage conversation.

Does your customer have children in the community’s schools? If you’re in Montevallo, be sure they know about the resources of Parnell Memorial Library’s children’s department. If you’re giving them directions to The American Village or the Alabama National Cemetery, mention possible spots for lunch in town. Offer to call ahead and double-check hours of operation. Be prepared to offer solutions to a shopping dilemma and say a good word for shops down the street.

Get creative about scheduling your time in order to attend civic and cultural events. You’ll make contacts that will benefit your business and when you are making referrals to your own customers, you’ll be speaking from experience!

To grow businesses and build community, we need to sell for each other.

Approach customers and visitors with an external and an internal smile and listen to what they say. In 2010 the Montevallo Chamber’s theme is “Working Together.” An important step in this process is to remember that clients in your business are an opportunity for other community businesses and attractions.

Listen and respond thoughtfully and the benefits will expand across your community.