I recently met a local printing company to discuss the idea of us working together on projects and found it to be a useful stepping stone in learning how businesses work. I instigated the meeting because I saw that there is a correlation between people hiring printers for promotional work and looking to get something set up online too. It stands to reason – if you’re making flyers or a brochure for a new business venture then it’s quite possible you might want a website to support it on the internet too.
Anyway, I’m not a salesperson and I was acutely aware that I might be put into a position to ‘sell’ my business and it’s strengths. So I prepared some basic information, tried to remember it and went in. As I say, I learnt a few things from my meeting and here, in no particular order, is a few words of my advice:
Always greet everyone
You’ll see what the business is like when you go in there. It could be a family run firm or a more corporate style environment, but always make sure you greet everyone in a positive way. It can make the difference between you being someone they think they can work with or not.
Do your research beforehand
Always do research – even a bit if you can manage it. Find out how long the business has been working, what sort of customers it deals with, who works there, do a SWOT analysis of the business, find out what you can offer it that others can’t.
Tell them why they should work with you
The printers I found already had webdesigners working with them, it was a small sideline however and their main business was getting repeat orders for work. So try to think about what the business wants and how you can meet those requirements. Then, make sure you tell them this too (a lot of things can go unsaid in meeting sometimes).
Ask lots of questions
Just like at an interview it’s always worthwhile asking questions to better understand what your new potential business partner is all about. It shows interest, helps you get answers to questions you still have, and encourages dialogue and rapport.
Get good business cards
Make sure you exchange business goods (as you would at a networking event) but ensure they are of good quality and give a good impression of your business. It’s a mistake to get cheap cards made as otherwise you may get puzzled expressions when you hand over your business card.
Know your business strengths
If you want to encourage others to work with your business then it’s important to let them know what your business is all about and it’s strong points. By knowing your USPs you are in a better position to sell your business to other businesses, not just customers.
Where to look for businesses partners
If you are stuck for what sort of partners your webdesign company can work with then look at the following:
- Printing companies
- Graphics designers
- Sign makers
- Marketing companies
- Advertising agencies
- Local business support group