Today’s columnist, Michael Bell: If you don’t ask you don’t get

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Attracting new business can be one of the most challenging aspects of running your own company.

For some people it just seems to roll in effortlessly. Many others experience a far more tortuous story. And as many again quickly go under through a total lack of it.

Like any aspect of business, finding the right formula is not black magic. There’s always a reason things happen the way they do and you’ll probably be surprised that the majority of new business leads are a lot easier and nearer than you’d ever imagine.

I’m talking about personal introductions. Before you all run and hide in a corner I’ve never found them anything but the best way of getting new business. In fact I consider anything other than a personal referral is likely to be a low quality lead.

In order to get personal recommendations you have to do one very simple thing – ask for them.

This is without doubt the piece of the jigsaw that people initially find most daunting.

They wrongly assume that customers and clients are going to be unhappy about being asked if they know of anyone who also might benefit from your services.

Nothing could normally be further from the truth.

The classic advice I always remember from my own childhood still holds good: “If you don’t ask you don’t get”. It’s a good adage.

When I first became a salesman there’s no doubt I felt a little nervous asking the question.

But, interestingly, I soon found out that the very same personal contacts were having the same feeling about asking if I’d mind being recommended to their family and friends.

I soon found out that the very worst that could happen is to receive a polite “no”.

But without a doubt the most likely thing to happen was that you’ll end up with more business in which to build the foundations of your organisation.

I find the best way to introduce your thinking is to mention that you make it a professional business practice to work by personal introductions. It then comes as no surprise when you ask them at some point in the future.

In short, what could be better than getting other individuals to do the marketing for you.

You just have to bite the bullet and make it happen.

If you want to find out more come along to my next Late Late Breakfast meeting this Friday at the Assay Office. Details from