“Saw this. Thought of you.”
Those two sentences — the kind of verbiage often tacked onto a forwarded news article —might not sound revolutionary, but according to author and entrepreneur Andrew Griffiths, when used correctly, those five words can help small business owners create deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers.
“We all read a great deal and we all see things that are probably very relevant to our clients,” Griffiths explains in Inc. magazine. “Forwarding articles or information that you think might be helpful or of interest is easy, and the perfect way to show that you actually do care about your customers and clients.”
Beyond the obvious — stay away from potentially controversial topics (ahem, politics) —Griffiths lays out a few rules for owners and managers interested in using the approach to build contacts and strengthen sales leads:
- Don’t fake it. For the approach to be effective, you need to have an established relationship with the person; the best forwards relate to a previous conversation that was of real interest to both parties. “We have to be genuinely interested in our clients,” he said, adding, “We take the time to get to know our clients and this means asking better questions.”
- Think beyond the sale. Don’t sneak in a pitch — this approach is about relationship-building for future sales. “[Share information] selflessly, not just as a way to get business,” he said. And, think outside the box. “Send them information or ideas that you find for both work related topics as well as things they might be interested in outside of work,” Griffiths suggests.
- Watch your timing. Everyone gets too many emails these days. Don’t get lost in the shuffle or become a pest with an overzealous approach. “Sending them something every day is probably too much,” Griffiths said. “Every few weeks is perfect.”