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What To Do With The Business Cards You Collect

Your networking efforts paid off handsomely and now you have a collection of business cards. Now what? What do you do with all the business cards you have?

Some entrepreneurs avoid business card pile-up by entering new contacts into their database in a timely manner. Others let new contacts sit their desks for days, growing in mass and invade precious work space.

As disorganization adds to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, this is the last thing you want to do.

When you do nothing with your new contacts, you forget who you spoke with or why you have their card, the value of the contact is lost and with it possible opportunities.

This happens to all of us at first, but once you know better, you do better.

Getting your contacts organized is the first step in creating a follow-up process that produces consistent revenue.

Whether you hate data entry, or don’t have a CRM, designing a simple process to organize your contacts is possible.

Below is a 5 -step process I use to organize business cards and follow-up with new contacts.

  1. Rank each business card from 1 to 10. (during or immediately after event)

Cards ranked 1-4 are cold leads, there’s little to no connection, or you don’t know how the connection would benefit.  Rankings 5-7 are warm leads, there’s opportunity for collaboration or partnership, or they’re a great connection to someone in your network. Business cards ranked 8-10 are hot leads, great potential for ideal strategic partner, and great connection. Ranking your business cards helps to prioritize your follow up.  It’s important to connect with everyone who gave you a business card but make sure you contact those with high ranking cards first. 

  1. Right a word or phrase to recall the conversation. (during or immediately after event)

This is a common tip because IT WORKS. Write something that will jog your memory when entering notes into your CRM later. Recall information about the conversation as to why you should stay connected. This could be business or personal.

  1. Follow up in 24-48hrs

Send a quick email or voicemail summarizing your encounter and make your request.   Your request could be confirming the next step, asking for a one on one, sending useful information and links, making introductions, etc. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what want.

  1. Discard business cards of those who don’t respond.

After 3 attempts to connect, if there’s no response, recycle the card. As your CRM is premium real estate, storing dead leads can cost extra time and resources. For instance, CRM systems have plans based on features and the amount of contacts you have, and your SEO rating and be negatively impacted based on email open rates. You can decide on the number of attempts and the frequency of touch points before eliminating contacts but do remove them from your contact list if non-responsive. This will save time and money.

  1. Enter contacts & notes in database/CRM

Once you receive a response, add them to your database/ CRM. Add notes and add tags such as warm list, hot list, etc. Following this method will reduce data entry time and build a high quality database of leads.

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How To Nurture Your Network

We all know the importance of having a strong network.  In fact, Porter Gale’s famous quote, “your network is your net worth,” sums it up nicely. Yet the problem lies in how to keep the connections going.

Sure, it’s simple to have the first coffee meeting with someone you’ve met from an event, but it’s the structure the first meeting helps determine how the relationship plays outs.

Building your network can be intimidating and awkward initially, and like every new skill, it takes repetition to master. So here is a simple process I use to build and nurture my network.

  1. During your first meeting ask a lot of questions. Being interested in the other person means you’re asking questions about them. Small talk helps to loosen things up and build trust. In fact, small talk is vital to learning what drives your new friend. The personal stuff is what matters to us so asking about family and hobbies do more than build rapport. It’s intel. I’ve had people ask me how they can support me and I rarely ever have a definitive answer, but ask me what are my challenges, and well, I can talk for 5 minutes on that. So think about what information you want to learn about that person and have a few questions on hand in case you freeze up or forget.

Hint: Think F.O.R.D Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Ask questions from each group.

  1. Clarify your intentions for the one on one meeting. Why do you want to meet this person? Are their clients your ideal clients? Are you interested in making a purchase? Do you have possible referrals for them? If you’re interested in meeting with them to pitch your business and it was not agreed upon, you should rethink your meeting. Networking is about exchanging information, developing contacts, exploring collaborations, etc. It’s not about pitching your products unless the other person agrees. If someone agrees to meet for networking reasons and then wants to hear how you can help them, that’s a sales conversation and should be scheduled for a different time. BOOM! Easy follow-up! Actively listen for how you can help them.We often listen to respond and when this happens, we can’t remember what was said. Active listening help you pick up on nonverbal communications and see the full picture your new friend is painting for you.

Hint: Think of the conversation as time of possession. The goal is to all the other person to talk more than you. If you’re doing the majority of the talking, either you’re pitching, or you turn into a prospect.

  1. Agree on the next steps before parting ways.By the end of your meeting there should be 1 or 2 action items to exchange. This could be an introduction, the start of a collaboration, cross marketing, sending information, becoming accountability partners, etc. If they are interested in hearing more about your solution, the next step is to schedule a discovery meeting/ sales conversation.The next steps should be mutually agreed on and restated before you part ways.

Hint:If you’re being genuine about wanting to help the other person succeed, it’ll come through so don’t worry about being salesy. Just have a desire to help. This alone can add value.

  1. Send an email follow-up/ Thank you card. A super easy way to increase business and strengthen connections with your new friend is sending thank you notes. Yes, it’s old school and I’m sure you’ve heard of this. If you haven’t tried it, or fell off the wagon, YOU’RE MISSING OUT! Sending a personalized thank you via snail mail is uplifting. It also keeps you top of mind, which is what you want. With most advertisement switched to online marketing, most of us only receive bills in the mail. There have been times I sent a thank you notes to new friends and the saw them at an event. They were happy to see me everything time and appreciative of the note. It’s an easy way to build influence in a non-salesy way.  Sending follow up emails is also a common way to keep the connection going, especially to reiterate action steps. You can and should do both.

Hint:Send the follow up email right away then send the thank you note the following week.

  1. Check in with your new friend.Once the first connect happens and action items are completed, it’s time to check in with your new friend. Ask them about a project they’re working on, their latest accomplishment, follow up on an introduction you made, etc. Then share what you’ve been working on. You can send a message via email, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. If you start to wonder about your friend, then that’s a perfect time to check in. If you’re concerned about how often you check in, you can do it once a month. The frequency will vary depending on the relationship and what is being worked on.
  2. If you made several attempts to reached out over a period of time without a response, it’s time to move on. Not everyone you meet with will be a good fit or will be responsive to your communications. It happens to us all. I have a follow up system I use where I reach out 6 to 8 times over 2 months. If I don’t hear from them after the 8th communication, I’ll move their contact to my cold list.I’ll reach out to them less and use different methods to communicate. If they’re still non-responsive after 6 months, I’ll archive them. Whatever your follow-up sequence is, including a cutoff point is essential to keeping your CRM current and functional.   Your CRM is the heart of your business and if it’s cluttered with people who aren’t helping you do business, then your CRM isn’t of much value. Keep your CRM healthy and clean by clearing out those contacts who you’ve haven’t heard from in years.

Hint:Your follow-up system should include 2-3 communication methods. Using email as the only way you contact your people grows stale and sends the message you don’t really care.

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Character Discernment: How to Find Safe People

Have you ever met someone who seemed fake? They’re charming, funny, and confident. Yet there’s something about them that’s off?

Your intuition waved a huge red flag in your mind’s eye, signaling caution! DO NOT PROCEED!

And what did you do?

You ignored the warning and form a connection with that person to only regret it later.

We’ve all been there.

I’ll be the first to admit of learning the hard way.

Character discernment is like completing an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. It’s incredibly challenging, but with practice, patience, and self trust, it can be accomplished and very necessary for protecting yourself and your business.

What makes character discernment challenging?

From personally experience and observation, I have uncovered 4 basic truths.

1. Adults have become masters at hiding our true selves from the world. Western society has taught us we must be something more than who we are to belong. The search for belonging and acceptance motivates us to consume things we believe will “fix us”

2. Not trusting yourself.  There have been countless times I trusted others before myself.  Yes, I was naive and yet I didn’t know my own power so I freely gave it away.  How many times have you trusted someone’s word over or your intuition? What about a group of friends, or experts? We naturally look to peers and expert opinions before trusting our own judgement.

3.  We judge others based on qualities outside of character traits. Some of us discern people based on their personality, looks, financial status, ethnicity, etc.  It’s only when we look at character are we truly able to connect with safe people.

4. Allowing emotions to over-ride rational thinking. We buy out of emotion. Marketers know that, sales people know that, and manipulators know that. Being able to pull back those feelings and think things through would save a lot of money and heart-ache.

 How to find safe people

Safe people are those who are trustworthy, reliable, and genuine. They’d never intentionally bring you harm and want the best for you. Finding safe people involves being aware of patterns in behavior and conversation, self-reflection and dealing with your own short comings and sticking to personal boundaries.

 

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Peer Networking: Creating Strategic Alliances

What does Mark Zuckerberg, Issa Rae, & Bill Gates have in common?

I’ll give you a hint: think strategic networking…

That’s right, they all collaborated with their peers to grow their business. When well established companies would not give them the time of day, their peers offered them opportunities.

Horizontal networking is a powerful strategy most business owners over look.

I was certainly guilty of this and questioned this strategy.

What do two entrepreneurs in the same stage of business have to offer each other?

Asking this question opened the flood gates of creative answers and transformed how I network.

Just like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Issa Rae transformed their businesses, you can too.

True BOSS ladies know the value of horizontal networking and use the power of peer groups to grow their business.

Here are my top 5 ways to leverage your peer group.

  1. Honest feedback.  It’s a huge advantage to have a group who’ll test your branding, products, and marketing.  A large company would pay thousands of dollars to a marketing research company for the feedback your peer group would gladly provide for free.
  2. Support.  It’s challenging talking about business to loved ones. Often times, they’re tired of hearing about it, they don’t understand, or it’s boring to them.  No matter if it’s to celebrate or vent, your peer group will understand your victories and pain. They can also help plot your next move.
  3. Project Opportunities. Peers are more willing to include you in proposals  for joint opportunities such as workshops, webinars creations, conferences etc. If your business offers adjacent services/ or products, it’s a win-win situation for you, peers and clients.
  4. Marketing. Marketing opportunities are abundant in peer groups.  Guest blogging, podcast interviews, and event sharing are just a few inexpensive ways peers help one another gain visibility.
  5. Build life-long relationships. Experiencing collective emotional highs and lows build strong, lasting bonds.  It’s amazing fun making money with people you enjoy being with.

Building strategic alliances with your peers can make all the difference in the world when growing your business.

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How to Prevent Clients From Having Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever had buyer’s remorse?

You know, that sinking feeling of regret after a purchase.

I’ve experienced buyer’s remorse plenty of times and still do from time to time.

That feeling of regret is a red flag signaling you’ve over spent, there’s a lack of value, or little to no trust of the product/service will meet expectations.

As a business owner, buyer’s remorse can be the kiss of death for your business.

Often times, customers hold the business responsible for their negative feelings and this can lead to no repeat business, and bad reviews.

Although buyer’s remorse can be the result of the consumer’s actions or emotional triggers, the business can suffer the backlash.

Take my old man, Ryan and his recent car purchase for instance. Old Betsy, his 12 year old Kia Optima, has been on her last leg for a while. A week ago we found out she needed over $2,000 of repairs.
Instead of sinking more money into fixing Betsy, he decided to get a new-to-you car.

After all was said and done, he paid $100 more in monthly payments for a 4 year old Honda and they gave him less than $500 for Betsy. In addition, his car insurance increased $40 dollars.
Don’t get me wrong, the Honda is a sweet, sleek, sexy thang. It drives better than Old Betsy, it’s safer, and has the latest tech features.

So is the Honda worth the extra $140.00 in monthly payments? Was it what Ryan intended on buying? Was he treated fairly?

All of these questions invaded my mind when Ryan brought the car home.
I wasn’t there when the wheeling and dealing went down and Ryan’s starting to display buyer’s remorse behaviors.

Clearly he went over budget and that’s the core reason he’s feeling regretful.

So what is he doing about it?
For starters, Ryan’s renegotiating his insurance plan.  If it isn’t reduced, he‘ll search for a new insurance provider.
Secondly, he’s driving in silence to listen for any unusual sounds in case there’s a slight chance he could return the Honda.

That’s pretty much it.

If you’re wondering if my old man will make a second purchase from the dealership or refer someone, probably not.

He’s more likely to give a negative review than refer someone and doesn’t even remember the salesperson’s name he worked with.

Ryan’s scenario is so common in business that many entrepreneurs either try to avoid doing business with the “Ryans” in the world or cut ties from them after the purchase. Very few business owners would attempt to satisfy a remorseful customer.

Yet wise BOSS LADIES know customers like my old man have advocate potential. With a few tweaks in customer experience and support, clients like Ryan could be raving fans.

What can you do to avoid buyers remorse & build customer loyalty?

Loyalty begins in the sales cycle.
Educating clients on who you are and how you work is the first step in creating a transparent sales cycle. When you make the unfamiliar familiar for prospects, they know what to expect which builds the first stage of trust.

Putting the relationship before profit by doing right by  your client is another key element in building deep trust and staying top of mind. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should lose revenue serving your client. It does demand consideration when offering your solution.

For example, if the car salesman would have noticed Ryan’s uneasiness and reassured him of making a great decision or offered an alternative, Ryan would’ve came home excited about his hot new car. He would’ve also been appreciative of the salesman’s thoughtfulness.
With one simple act of putting the relationship first, the car salesman could’ve become memorable, increased word of mouth buzz, and received a referral.

How does your business measure up?

What gets measured gets improved.
Do you know your client retention rate? Established companies that focus on customer retention will grow their business faster and more efficiently by tracking their customer retention rate. For a simple way of measuring your client retention rate, try this formula:
E=# of existing customers at the end of given period.
N= # of new customers during given period.
S= # of customers you had at start of period.
Customer Retention Rate(CRR)
CRR= ((L-A)/S) X 100

Knowing your client retention rate will take the guesswork out of growing your business.

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Churning Clients Off: How To Improve Client Retention

My sister recently had a horrible experience with an auto repair business. They quoted her one price and the next day, increased it by $60.00. She waited 4 hours for her car when they promised it would be ready when she arrived and the day after the repairs, my sister’s car wouldn’t start.

What a freakin’ waste of time and money! What lousy service!
Does this sound familiar?

All too often consumers feel victimized after their first purchase and the odds of them repurchasing is ZERO.

While the churn and burn method of doing business is still practiced, the success of your business relies on customer retention.

Smart entrepreneurs know the key to client retention is delivering great and consistent customer experience.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about the customer experience in your business.
1. Am I clear when setting expectations? Transparency is key to a satisfied customer. Be very clear on what you need from the client and what they can expect from you.
2. Do I speak to all my clients the same? Not all clients are motivated by the same thing. Many clients are turned off by feeling like just another number. Identifying the types of client you have and tailoring your message to fit your client types will improve engagement.

3. Do I follow-up after the purchase? Asking clients if their needs were met is essential to increasing repeat buying. The feedback received will help improve your business and is an opportunity to solve a new problem.

4. How do I handle dissatisfied clients? Being kind, professional, and helpful when handling dissatisfied customers opens the door to future purchases.

5. Do I demonstrate that I care? Clients want to know that you care about them and their problem. Beyond solving their issue, what support do you provide?

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How To Generate Real Referrals

Many business owners are overlooking the power of referrals and mostly focusing on online marketing. Although internet ads have its advantages, ads don’t compare to referrals.

Some of you may disagree. Yet, when we explore the definition of a referral, I’m sure you’ll reconsider.

What is a referral?

As Stacey Brown states in her blog titled All “Referrals” Aren’t Referrals and Aren’t Created Equal, the definition of a referral has become extremely diluted today.

Most people generalize different types of leads and group together terms.

Understanding the difference between an introduction and cold lead will help you identify the right actions to generate REAL referrals.
Savvy BOSS LADIES teach their clients how to refer qualified new clients.

Types of referrals

When someone mentions your services/products to a friend, it generates word of mouth buzz. The more your name is seen or heard in their world, the more likely they seek you out. Although word of mouth buzz isn’t a referral, free marketing adds credibility and that’s a good thing.

If someone gives you the name of a company or contact information but doesn’t connect you, that’s a cold lead. Although you can use the referral source name, you work just as hard to close the sale as you would any other prospect. Very little trust is transferred from your contact to the referral. In fact, extra work may be needed to build rapport and overcome suspicion.

An introduction provides a little more leverage. When someone introduces you, a transfer of trust is made. The referral source is vouching for you which helps build rapport. This connection is a warm lead. Some effort is still required, especially if the referral source doesn’t explain why she’s connecting you.

When the referral source positions you as being the premier person to solve a problem and the referral contacts YOU, it’s a true referral. They’re already sold on your solution, and the trust is established by the referral source. The only effort required is to listen and not screw up the sale!

Clients who present you on a diamond encrusted platter can grow and sustain your business better than any online marketing funnel can. Rock star clients who send REAL referrals your way are game changers because you’re no longer worried about the next lead. Being sought after is the ultimate position all entrepreneurs dream of so how do you get there?

Marketing your business through referrals is an easy way to grow your business if you do it right. Consistent referrals can be achieved in a systematic way by using these three tips.

1. Inform new clients on how you work. If they know your primary business comes from referrals and how it benefits them, they’ll be more likely to send referrals your way.

2. Teach clients on how to identify your ideal client. If they know who your ideal client is, they will refer qualified people.

3. Show your appreciation to clients when they do refer someone. Once you convert a referral into a client, send your referral source an appreciation gift thanking them for the referral. A thank you card is a nice gesture, but spending a few dollars speaks volumes.

If you need more ideas on what to say, or someone to walk you through the process, lets schedule blueprint session!

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What You Should Know About Chatbots


If you’ve heard talk about chatbots and are wondering what they are, you’re not alone. As the online world is constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up at times.
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence.

Huh?

Like Amazon’s Alexa and iOS-Siri, chatbots act as an online concierge in text form. They can help customers search for a product, answer customer support questions, check the weather forecast, etc. By using artificial intelligence, chatbot programs learn your preferences to provide notifications, search information upon request, or hold conversations with you.

This sounds cool and creepy at the same time (two words, Minority Report).

Time is a premium for busy people and who isn’t busy? We search for ways to simplify and enrich our lives. Chatbot programs are playing a major role in helping us manage daily routines, or are they (Hear from Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus)?

Companies cash in on the benefits too since chatbots can improve customer experience, simplify customer support, save time and money.
Yet the boundaries of privacy continues to fade as convenience is given more importance.

Why are chatbots a big deal?

Besides all the benefits chatbot programs have to offer, data has shown that more people spend time on messaging apps than on social networking sites. In other words, people want to connect with friends in a private and personal way.

As a result, companies are forced to find new ways to reach their targeted audience. With chatbots companies can engage customers in a human way with little interruption of their daily routine.

No matter the concerns about artificial intelligence and it’s uses, this gravy train ain’t stopping.

As a business owner and consumer, I definitely see the advantages of using chatbots. As explained in the article, The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Chatbots By Matt Schlicht. Chatbots could replace apps and even websites in the near future. All business owners should know about this technology and how it can impact their industry.

If you’re interested in exploring Messenger’s chatbot platform click here.

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How Personal Touch Will Grow Your Business

How many times have you read about the importance of personal touch in business?

Sure, it sounds sophisticated, but what does it mean and how do you apply it to business?

Committed entrepreneurs struggle with answering these questions and are hesitant to verbalize their challenges, but they shouldn’t.

Let me reassure you, they are not stupid questions.

In fact, many business leaders struggle with applying personal touch tactics because the benefits aren’t identified or measured.

We all have an idea what personal touch means and if Gary Vaynerchuk does it, so should we.

But how much time and effort should we give to personal touch communications and what’s the ROI?

I mean, come on, who has the time to video blog 25 times a day?

When personal touch is applied effectively, it results in repeat business and referrals. Instead of pursuing business, you become the pursued.

In other words, people reach out to YOU to purchase YOUR products/services.

Now how powerful is that?

Personal touch builds the back-end of your business.

Or what I like to call pillow money.

Imagine business flowing to you effortlessly. Clients consistently buying your products and referring others without you asking them.

Yes, it’s very possible and personal touch tactics can get you there.
With the right combination of personal touch and automation, you can become a premier vendor in your industry.

Now that you’re aware of the benefits, let’s define what “personal touch” means.

If you were to google the phrase, you’ll find it simply means to make something less impersonal.

Pretty vague right?
But let’s dig deeper.

Personal touch is all about how you want people to feel when engaging with them. It includes the first interaction and beyond. Every touch point is an opportunity to reinforce that emotion about you.

Whatever emotion you want to evoke determines the tactics and methods of communication to apply in your business. Personal touch can be anything from addressing customers by their first name on email blasts, to appreciation gifts.

What’s important is how you want your customers to feel about you.

For instance, if you want your clients to feel special, a few tactics would include always addressing them by their first name. When sending email blasts, they only see their email not the thousands of other recipients, calling them on their birthday, acknowledging a milestone in their life, etc.

The secret to adding personal touch is the right balance of small tactics that leaves a lasting impression. It’s repeatable, consistent, and it doesn’t take a lot of resources for it to have serious impact. In fact, it can be done on a shoestring budget.

Clients want your TIME and ATTENTION. It’s a basic human need to be acknowledged and accepted. Simple yet thoughtful communication will show clients the time and effort you put into nurturing a relationship with them.

It ultimately shows you care.

In short, personal touch is about how you want your clients to feel. That emotion determines your tactics and communication methods. Whatever you decide, it shouldn’t use a lot of resources. In fact, you should be able to do it on a shoestring budget. Last, consistent thoughtful communication will show clients you care which will open up the flood gates to pillow money!

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How Client Retention Contributes To The Greater Good


If you were to ask an entrepreneur what keeps her up at night, there’s a good chance she’s worried about attracting new clients.

Client retention and referrals takes a back seat to the bright and shiny new client.

We all know repeat business is the low hanging fruit of sales.

In fact, the National Law Review reports it can cost up to 5x more to acquire new customers than to keep current ones.

But customer retention isn’t sexy to many business leaders because it requires maintaining relationships.

And relationship management takes a level of commitment some aren’t accustomed to.

Besides the financial benefits of client retention, there’s also an intrinsic value you should consider.

As social isolation is a growing public health issue, client retention efforts can reduce the effects of loneliness.

I know it seems borderline ridiculous to consider loneliness a threat to public health, but according a Harvard Business Review article titled Work and the Loneliness Epidemic, Vivek Murthy states “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity. It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.”

What’s alarming are the millions of people who are suffering from social isolation.

In the Daily Science News, an article titled Social Isolation, Loneliness could be greater threat to public health than obesity,
“An estimated 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined.”

With the number of people suffering from loneliness in the millions, chances are your clients are being affected.

Loneliness carries a hefty price tag in business as it reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs reasoning and decision making which translates to thousands of dollars being loss.

Smart business leaders can help reduce loneliness in a number of ways.

Create add value that foster social connection. You can provide opportunities for clients to connect, promote social gatherings in newsletters, and reach out to your rock star clients with a phone call.

Provide opportunities for employees to build stronger connections. Provide opportunities for staff to get to know each other such as allowing a few minutes during weekly meetings for staff to share something about themselves.

Reach out to your network. Check up on people you haven’t seen or heard from in a while with a phone call. They’ll appreciate your call and you maybe the only one who cared enough to check in.

Being connected to others is a fundamental human need and it’s essential for business. Strengthening client relationships adds to your bottom line and contributes to the greater good.

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