Marketing Your Flea Market Business Course Lesson 2: Building Relationships & Developing Friendships

In this lesson you will learn how building relationships and/or friendships can benefit your flea market business. When you build a relationship or friendship with someone, you build their trust in you. People do business with people they like and trust.

By applying relationship marketing to your flea market business, you build a loyal group of customers who want to do business with you. How do you build relationships and /or friendships with your customers? You let them get to know you and what you have to offer. You can do this by sharing your knowledge and developing online profiles. Below are some examples.


Build Online Relationships/Friendships

Participate in forums. Forums are online discussion groups where you can exchange open messages with people that have common interests. You can share your knowledge with people by posting tips or answering questions in forums within your industry.

Join some social networking sites. What is a social networking site? Social networking websites are websites that essentially act as internet communities. Some of the most popular ones are MySpace, Facebook, FriendFinder, Orkut and Yahoo! 360. Why would you want to join these sites? To generate interest in your flea market business, including the products or services that you sell. You can use your profile to bring attention to your business, website, blog, newsletter, etc.


Build Local Relationships/Friendships

Attend local seminars. Seminars are a great place to learn some business building tips and can also be a great place to network with other business owners. Join local business groups for networking. Most towns have local groups that you can join. These are great for getting to know other business owners in your area. You can also build relationships with these owners and partner with them in future projects.

Create charity tie-ins. Are you launching a new product? Trying to increase visibility among a particular segment of your community? Offer your product to one or more local charities as a raffle prize or for use at a fund raising event. You'll receive lots of exposure among people who buy tickets or attend the event.

Community service. Nothing brings you to the attention of the people faster, or more favorably, than community service. Ask yourself how your enterprise can be a "good neighbor" to your community. Volunteer for various community causes. If appropriate, you can step in during a community emergency, offering products and services to help an organization or individuals in need. After Hurricane Katrina hit, some of our flea market vendors donated clothing, shoes, toothbrushes, shampoo, and other personal care products to some of the victims that were staying at local shelters.


Develop Relationships With Your Current Customers

Do you send out greeting cards to major customers or clients? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries make nice greeting card occasions. Greeting cards create enormous goodwill and keep your name in front of people. You could also send out articles, newsletters, coupons, or special promotions to your customers. We will cover more customer relationship ideas in the next lessons.


Action Steps:

- Join some online or local communities and get your name and business
  out there.

- Find some forums within your industry to contribute to.

- Set up a profile on myspace (and other social networking websites) to
  showcase your business and products.

- Using the methods above as a guide, brainstorm some other ways
  to build relationships with current or potential customers.

In the next lesson you will learn ways to create word of mouth buzz.

Lesson 1    Lesson 2    Lesson 3    Lesson 4    Lesson 5

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