In this episode of Life with Lori, Lori Stai interviews Steve Lester of Fathom Realty to discuss the importance of developing a relationship with businesses through a community of networking. Steve is a respected and well-known realtor in Texas who also chairs Plano-based Master Networks, which is a forum for small businesses to network and build a family of referrals.
What does networking do for small businesses? Steve says, “If you’re not networking, you’re not working. You’ve got to get out there and build trust.” Steve mentioned that this is particularly important for the small businesses trying to survive.
What is going on with small businesses in this COVID pandemic? We hear everything from businesses barely getting by, businesses closing their doors, and others thriving with COVID being the best thing that happened to them. Why would this be? One word. Creativity. The businesses that thrive are creative, and meeting the customer where they are through relationships while also relying on their business network. The biggest difference in businesses that survive and those that don’t? Steve says it’s “transactional vs. relational. Relational business mindsets will always thrive.”
So, what does building the relationship with the business actually do? “It builds trust” Steve says. “People’s trust is the ultimate compliment.” When trust is established with someone, they know they can rely on you and that leads to referrals. When a referral is made, you know that your name is associated with it, and the first thing that happens if that referral doesn’t work out is you will hear about it. Trust is very important in any relationship, and business relationships are no exception.
An important component to networking is consistency. Face-to-face meetings remain imperative. Master Networks exist in several states, which allows face-to-face meetings to occur anywhere and with the Zoom environment, these meetings are easier than ever. We can conduct our business from a hotel room, the beach, or across the globe.
What can a business do if they are struggling to stay alive? Steve says he believes in the TOMA (top of mind awareness) approach. Being in front of people on a consistent basis keeps you at the forefront of their minds. As he says, “Your best ability is your availability.” Also, building your network base helps where successes and challenges can be shared.
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Music Credit: Paul Kosovich, track titled Blue Willow. For your custom tunes, call 941-468-4513.