Friday, February 11, 2011

Followup on Jeff Allen at NBC10 -- Networking, the Name of the Game


As published yesterday, Jeff Allen, President of Allen Brothers Wholesale Distribution in Philadelphia, took part in a series of interviews at NBC10 Philadelphia.

In addition to a sitdown with Tracy Davidson of NBC10, Jeff is also featured on a new and exciting multi-media forum, CEO Intronet. During Jeff's sit-down with Davidson (see picture below), the two discussed the opportunities in today's market and advice for aspiring job-seekers and future CEO's. The taped appearance for Survive and Thrive will be appearing on an upcoming NBC10 news program on February 16th or 23rd.

Check out Jeff's one-on-one interview with Patty Owens, and don't miss the opportunity to hear from a CEO Roundtable of successful business owners in the Delaware Valley! Read below on a few thoughts I took away from the day and some ideas in terms of growing your business network...

President Jeff Allen with NBC 10's evening news host Tracy Davidson

What an eye-opening experience. As a marketing enthusiast, it was incredible to hear the stories from other industry leaders throughout the day, turning their ideas & dreams into successful enterprises. And what a great opportunity for business networking, the name of the game for any aspiring entrepreneur.

When you hear the word networking, what's the first thought that comes to your mind? A shuffling of hand shakes and business cards? Maybe a friendly discussion at the counter of your convenience store or out in the aisles? Think more detailed about successful and worthwhile business marketing, and you should come up with a definition similar to the one I've started applying more and more in my daily interactions. Business Marketing is defined as the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients and/or customers. Notice I point out and highlight the mutually beneficial relationship, no mistake made there!! The focal point of the message is to seek out like-minded individuals who will benefit comparably and be more likely to work together with you in the future. It seems so simple! But how often in your daily interactions do you waste your time (pardon the blunt phrasing) with people or opportunities that can't meet the expectations of you or the person you're working with.

In the convenience store business, this thought can apply to each and every store owner or manager. During your day-to-day operations, how often do you engage in your own business marketing? Are you building relationships with your customers and the distributors and vendors? Some questions to consider:

Do you reach out to a customer and thank them for their business?

Customers will visit your store for quick service and an in-and-out experience. But that doesn't mean you can't greet those customers by name and enquire about what's going on in their lives. That type of interaction will keep them coming back to you because YOU STAND OUT!! That customer is more likely to refer you to a friend because you're not doing the same thing everyone else is doing in your line of business.

What do you do to make that customer feel like you have their interest in mind?

Have you successfully emphasized to your employees to put a name to the face of those regular customers who come in even as little as once a week. If not, do so today. But more than that, make a customer feel like you're looking out for them as well. Price yourself competitively. Even if your profit margins are lower at first, you should be able to make up for that in volume if word gets out about your great pricing. Due to today's economy, everyone is price sensitive, and having a reputation for the lowest price in your geographic footprint will go a long way.

It might sound so insignificant, but in an industry where personal interaction is so critically essential, how much or little do you emphasize your business networking. Reward a customer's loyalty, maybe a cup of coffee on the house!! Remember, you need to spend money to make money and always go that extra mile to keep your customer satisfied!!

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