How to Leverage Your Personal Network to Scale Your Business

Published on December 13, 2021

Whether you're selling business listings on your directory website, life insurance, or any service for that matter, you are also selling yourself. Your personality, your reputation and the impression you make play a big role in why doing business with YOU is the right decision.

As part of your sales strategy, you may focus on cold calling, email marketing or purchasing leads, all of which can be very effective for growing your directory business. However, sometimes the best leads and resources for acquiring new customers can come from your very own personal network.

Your personal network includes individuals you know directly such as a family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague. You can also tap into your extended network which could include for example your brother’s boss or a coworker’s spouse. For many people, their personal network is much larger than they realize.

When you have a great product, feel confident in yourself and the services you offer, and have a solid network of prospects to build off, the path to success becomes much easier. Here are a few ways you can leverage your personal network to help you scale your directory business.

Ask for Referrals

One of the most powerful marketing tools is word of mouth. People like to do business with people they know and trust. They are also more inclined to refer someone to a professional they have already built a relationship with and feel confident in the services they provide, either from first-hand experience or witnessing their success with others.

In addition to your friends and family who already know and trust you, clients and past customers are great referral sources. Don't be shy about asking a client for a referral. You never know, they may be friendly with a fellow business owner or have someone in their own network who could also benefit from being listed on your directory site. if they can't refer you to someone at that exact moment, they'll likely keep you in mind as a future reference so be sure to ask again.

Get Involved in Your Community

Staying active in your community and participating in local events can be a great way to grow and leverage your personal network. Even if there doesn't seem to be a direct connection with your business, becoming a respected member of the community can indirectly help you sell more listings.

By getting involved in your community, you have the opportunity to meet people and make connections with local business owners and potential advertisers. Also, it can give you some local fame so when you walk into a business to sell advertising, they might say "Hey weren't you at the community fundraiser last week?" This type of commonality can go a long way when building relationships to help further grow your business.

Barter Your Services 

A great way to leverage your personal network to grow your business is to barter your services. Think about local businesses that might be willing to trade one of their products or services in exchange for a free or discounted listing on your directory website. Bartering can be beneficial for both parties financially and help in building your credibility with other prospects.

As an example, let’s say you need marketing material printed and you have begun to build a working relationship with a local print shop business owner. You may consider bartering the print shop owners listing fee on your website directory in exchange for the printed material. In another scenario, you are interested in becoming a sponsor for a local community event. In exchange for sponsorship, offer the business hosting the event advertising space on your website directory. While you may not be getting paid directly, you are ultimately receiving something of value in exchange.

Ask for Reviews & Testimonials 

Reviews and testimonials are a great way for prospects to hear how awesome your services are from those who have experienced it themselves. If a business owner brags about how they're listing on your directory website has helped them get exposure, other businesses will want to join also. Again, we reference how impactful word of mouth and first-hand experiences are for potential customers. That's why it's so important to ask for reviews and testimonials from your current clients.

An effective way to build your digital reputation is to ask clients and your business contacts to share Google reviews. Additionally, you can ask them to share their positive feedback on your Facebook page. You can then feature these advertiser testimonials in your marketing materials and promote them on social media.

5 Tips for Expanding Your Personal Network

Networking is an important aspect of personal and professional growth. The larger your personal network is, the greater the impact it can make on your business. Although most business owners understand the benefits, many rarely devote enough time and effort to expanding their personal network. While some may view networking as a chore, there are many opportunities and outlets that can help you grow your network. Try some of these tips...

1. Get on Social Media 

Social media is a great resource to reach different people in your area and make new connections. You can join local Facebook groups to learn more about what’s going on in your community and start conversations with businesses. You can also spread the word about your business by posting regularly on social media and sharing your contact information.

2. Join a Local Chamber of Commerce

If you are looking for a more formal setting, joining a chamber of commerce is a helpful way to meet business professionals who are also looking to expand their network. They often host specific networking events as a forum for business men and women to meet. With this type of group, you will want to be prepared with business cards and practice your elevator pitch.

3. Host a Local Workshop or Seminar

As the host of a workshop or seminar, your role shifts from being an attendee to the main attraction. You have more control of the agenda and conversation making it easy to showcase your strengths and expertise while also promoting your business. For example, you can talk about the importance of online advertising and the benefits of a directory listing. Following the presentation, be available and ready to shake some hands and speak with guests. Attendees may want to introduce themselves and ask questions about what you presented and/or your business.

4. Attending Trade Shows and Conferences 

Trade shows and business conferences offer a professional network setting and are typically well attended events with hundreds or even thousands of people. At a trade show, you can be an attendee or choose to be an exhibitor, in which case, you’ll greet those interested in speaking with you as opposed to an attendee where you are the approacher. Depending on the event, you can meet people from diverse backgrounds and industries with varied job titles.

5. Volunteer 

Another way to expand your network and meet new people is volunteering. Identify a cause or organization with a mission that interests you. You’ll meet people outside your general day-to-day routine and collaborate with individuals to work towards a common goal. When volunteering, you’re in a more causal environment making it easier to strike up conversation and build relationships. Again, it’s all about making connections and building your personal network so you can tap into later on.

In Conclusion

If you are still considering whether or not networking is necessary, Linkedin reported that 80% of professionals consider networking important to career success (source). So realize, the opportunity is there, but you need to work for it, keep it simple, and make your network work for you.

While running a local business directory website, building your personal network could impact how quickly you can grow. So take advantage of all of the networking opportunities and resources available to you. It may take time and effort, but building relationships can really make a difference in the expansion of your business.

Start a directory website business

Start a Directory Website for Your Town or City with Ideal Directories!

Make money promoting local businesses, coupons & events in your area.
Get Started Now