5 Secrets to Building Business Relationships When You're an Introvert
by: Donna Gunter
I've tried any number of ways to market my business: attending networking functions, joining professional associations, exhibiting at trade shows, just to name a few of my tactics. However, despite my best intentions, I've gotten little or no business as a result of my efforts. I know that part of the reason for a lack of return on my investment in these items is my poor follow-up with contacts I've made, but I think it goes a bit deeper than than.
I just simply don't enjoy those activities. There now, I've said it, and it's out in the open.
I'm a card carrying introvert (INFP) on the Myers-Briggs scale, and while I can be extroverted when at a meeting or a networking event or a trade show, it takes a great deal of energy and effort for me to do so. I feel as though I'm playing a role (and I am, to some degree -- the role of an extrovert) and am not as authentic as I am when I'm speaking with someone that I know well.
In any business marketing book or course, you'll hear that if you don't toot your own horn about your business, no one else will. So, what's a good introverted girl to do to get the word out about her business?
Instead of continuing to beat my head against the wall and continue to do those things that I dislike in the hopes that something will change, I've made a 180 degree turn in my marketing efforts. It's much more comfortable for me, and I'm much more authentic, since I've decided that I want to get 95% of my clients from online means. So, instead of spending a great deal of time and money out of my office trying to drum up business, I'm refocusing all marketing efforts to building relationships online.
What's even more surprising is that I'm pretty good at it. I've developed close business and personal friendships will people all over the US and Canada, most of whom I've never met face-to-face. However, I know that if I were to show up in their city, I'd be welcomed into their home or at least be invited out to dinner, as we know each other quite well, without having ever met.
What's my secret? I'm a great writer, and have gotten much praise and acclaim throughout the years for my writing efforts. Many introverts love to write, and that skill alone can help you begin to forge great relationships online. Here are my 5 secret strategies to building business relationships as an introvert:
1. Email Newsletter: I've been writing my email newsletter, Work Smarter, Make More Online, for almost 5 years now. For the first 3 years, it was a real hit-or-miss proposition, as I published the newsletter only sporadically. However, about 2 years ago, I decided that I needed to publish on a weekly basis, and in that I needed to write articles that truly reflected me in each issue. I'm now starting to see the results of the writing I do each week. The results include readers calling or emailing me for coaching, to sign up for a program, to sit in on a teleclass, or to form a strategic alliance with them. Just exactly what I'd would happen. You can read more about how I publish my email newsletter at:
2. Writing and Submitting Articles: Once I have written my email newsletter for the week, I now have a usable article to place on my website as well as to submit to article banks, directories, and announcement lists. As a matter of fact, as I was sitting here composing this article, I received this week's email newsletter from Entrepreneurnewz, and the email had an very familiar subject heading -- the title of an article I had submitted to article banks about 3 weeks ago! The service that I use to submit my articles is called SubmitYourArticle.com, found at http://www.submityourarticle.com. I can keep track of the articles that I submit and go in and pull out a plain-text version of the article to send to new sources.
3. Creating Your Own Blog: Blogging is now all the rage, and it seems that every newspaper, magazine and business has its own blog. Blogging is a great way to get noticed online, and it helps both returning and prospective clients get to know you and your business better. I just started a blog in mid-2005 and have experienced greatly increased traffic to my website. You can get started very easily using a free service like Blogger, http://www.blogger.com, or work with a service like the one I use, TypePad, http://www.typepad.com, that permits you to customize the look and feel of your blog.
4. Participating in Online Discussion Lists and Blogs: Many of the people I know today I have gotten to know through my participation in online discussion lists. I belong to a great number of lists, but only really participate in a select few. In order to make this work, you need to participate consistently on the list or blog. When others see your regular posts or entries, more people remember you and it becomes easier for them to refer others to you and your business. Initially, upon joining a list or subscribing to a blog, you need to lurk (read without posting) to see how others respond to posts, and you'll also want to read the rules of the list that you should have received when you joined the list. A great resource for finding groups in which your target market might hang out is Yahoo Groups, http://groups.yahoo.com, and I use BlogLines, http://www.bloglines.com to subscribe to blogs. When you begin to contribute to these lists or blogs on a regular basis, you'll start to become known as an expert in your field.
5. Conducting Teleclasses: I've been told I'm a pretty good speaker, but having to dress up and travel around my local area to speak to various groups isn't the most productive use of my time. Instead, I can reach people from the comfort of my own home through the magic of teleclasses. Teleclasses are conference calls conducted via the telephone in which you can deliver content, answer questions, or hold a brainstorming session. You'll need a telephone bridgeline to conduct the call, and I get mine free of charge at http://www.freeaudioconferencing.com. Both Teleclass.com and TeleclassInternational.com have great resources and training for anyone who wants to create teleclasses as a part of their marketing strategy.
You can sell yourself and your business, even if you're an introvert. Finding a marketing style that's comfortable for you is key, and when you're comfortable and authentic, prospective clients will beat a path to your door!
Copyright 2005 Donna Gunter
About The Author
Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed professionals make more profit in less time online. To sign up for more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE ebook, TurboCharge Your Productivity: 50 + Tools To Help You Automate Your Business and Make More Profit in Less Time Online!, visit her site at http://www.OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com.