18 Ways to Turn Complete Strangers into Your Best Friends (and possibly customers)

This is a follow-up from my other post, Why Building Trust, Not Making Sales, Should be Your First Priority.

That post talked about why you should focus more on creating relationships with people instead of only making sales when you start and grow a micro business. This post will give you a couple of tips on how to actually to do that.

  1. Don’t wait to make the first move. If someone follows you on social networks or follows your blog, that means that they are at least a little interested in what you have to offer. Get in contact with them in some way and send them a short, personalized message.
  2. Say something like, “hey, thanks for following. I appreciate it! (insert question here) Have a good one, Marc” works great. It shows how grateful you are, its personal, and by ending your message with an open-ended question, it can possibly lead to further interaction. Make sure the question has something to do with your blog. Do not ask something that is too personal, off-putting, or could make the other person uncomfortable.
  3. If they respond, try to respond back as soon as possible. Timeliness is key. If you wait too long, it makes the other person feel like you don’t really care. This could make you miss out on a crazy amount of potential powerful friendships and connections.
  4. Keep your promises. Just like in life, no one likes anyone who doesn’t keep their word and follows through. Actions speak louder than words.
  5. If your new friends have a business or something else that you think your followers would be interested in, make a post showcasing it and include a link so your followers can check out their pages. This will benefit your new friends tremendously with traffic and exposure. It’s a sign of good faith that you like them and want to continue creating a relationship with them. An added bonus of doing this is that its probable that at some point, your friends will do the same for you. That’s the start of a great mutually beneficial relationship.
  6. Do NOT ever, ever, ever pressure people to buy something from you.
  7. Don’t be stingy. Give stuff away from time to time to people who you really connect with. It’s simple; you love free stuff and other people love free stuff too. However, do not use this gift to make the other person feel guilty and pressured into buying anything from you in the future. You need to realize that people have lots of other responsibilities and stuff going on in their lives. They may be short on cash to pay rent so they probably won’t buy something from you in the short-run. Don’t take it personal. See it as creating more value in the lives of others and let it go.
  8. Try to remember names. You like being called by your first name, right? Well everyone else does too.
  9. Follow up with people from time to time. Ask them how they’re doing. This shows them that you are putting in the time and effort to actually get to know them instead of trying to make money off of them.
  10. Do NOT ever, ever, ever pressure people to buy something from you. People go on social networks to get away from advertisements and to interact with people who share similar interests.
  11. Focus on creating value that will improve their lives instead. These things that improve their lives will encourage them to buy something much more than you forcing advertisements down their throat ever will.
  12. If these people decide to eventually buy something from you, you better show them how thankful you are!
  13. “Thank you” is a phrase that society as a whole doesn’t use enough these days. Big businesses are so impersonal. Did Walmart ever send you an e-mail thanking you for your purchase? How about Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc? No? If you say thank you, you’re one step ahead of these emotionless businesses. That’s how the micro business owner creates a place for themselves in the market.
  14. If you ship out a physical product and have neat hand writing, include a short hand-written thank you note. Something like, “Thank you so much for your purchase. We really appreciate it! -Marc” is fine. You can make your thank you note longer, shorter, or whatever you want to do with it. By taking the time to write a handwritten note, it shows your customers that you put some time and effort into it instead of hitting the print button to print out another copy of a template.
  15. If you have messy handwriting, a typed message with an actual signature will work great. A big thanks to Braulio at Braxen Photography for this tip.
  16. If it’s a digital product or something that doesn’t need to be shipped, a personalized e-mail would be sufficient.
  17. Stay in contact with these people . If you can’t think of something to say, start with, “How have you been? Haven’t heard from you in a while and (something you guys share in common) made me think of you.”
  18. Let people in on things that your micro business is working on. They can give you valuable feedback and can help get the word out about it. Remember, your business exists to improve the lives of your followers. What better way to come up with ways to do this than to ask your customers yourself?
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