When I first got into sales, I spent every bit of my time and energy trying to sell people I didn’t know—cold prospects. Then one day my uncle told me he had just purchased a vehicle from a competitor. When I asked why he didn’t buy it from me and he said, “I didn’t know you sold vehicles.”

That day I swore to myself that I would never let this happen again. You must leverage your power base—your family and friends—first. This is much more effective than working with strangers and cold contacts.

First, make a list of every person you know, starting with the people closest to you. Begin with your spouse or partner, then go outward to your kids, your aunts, and uncles, and keep spreading out from there. Then continue with your friends, associates, teachers, business contacts, the spot you buy lunch from once a week, and every other person you have ever made contact with. Make your list now and worry about how exactly you will reach them later.

The saying, “It takes money to make money,” is simply not true. The saying instead is, “It takes contacts to make contracts.” Use these 3 tips to network your power base and make those contracts grow your business.

  1. Promote like a politician. Your everyday routines are a way to capitalize and grow your power base. I recently had a meeting with a bank to talk about refinancing some real estate for me. I shared my business card with everyone I came in contact with—from the guy who parked my car to the receptionist to the president of the bank. I even gave my card to the folks at the nearby sandwich shop. I said the same thing to each of them: “If I can ever do anything for you, please give me a call.”

    Let people know what vehicles your dealership can provide, what services your facility can provide, and all of the many reasons they should visit you immediately. Even if they don’t need a new car or tune-up, once you get them to your dealership you can find out their real problems and provide real solutions.

    Get your pitch right and operate like a politician running for office. Make a commitment to being out there shaking hands, giving out business cards, making friends, kissing babies, and taking an interest in everyone you meet.

  2. Become omnipresent across social networks. Every day I use social media to get attention, pay attention, ask questions, and find people who may be interested in what I am doing. Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Medium, Facebook Mentions and LinkedIn have changed the way we get known. If I don’t know you I won’t pay you. Plus it is now possible for salespeople with no budget but a lot of desire, motivation, and creativity, to not only create a power base but to become a celebrity in their space.

    Today I will Tweet over 20 times, post on three different Facebook pages, do a Facebook Mention that will reach over 100,000 people, a Facebook Q&A that has reached over 40,000 people in 4 hours, respond to dozens of comments, write 2 blogs for LinkedIn and Medium and post some videos to YouTube. I do this every single day, and sometimes I do much more. You need to be fully committed.

    Related article: 6 Steps to Finish Your To-Do List

    I also keep my eye on trending social media topics. For example, one day I saw #WhatBrokePeopleSay trending on Twitter, so I started banging out related Tweets like: “Money doesn’t make people happy.” It only took a few seconds of my time. Then, about every 15 minutes I posted new Tweets on the topic while making calls to people on my power base list—even ones I had already reached out to. In a very short period of time, with no cost other than my creativity, I got attention for my brand. Engage with followers, and added new followers to my power base.

    Try looking up trending topics for your market and think of some creative ways to capitalize on it. Something for #WhatBrokePeopleSay could be, “New cars just aren’t worth it.” This is how I have amassed over 700,000 likes on Facebook, 340,000 followers on Twitter, over 103,000 YouTube subscribers, and over 466,000 followers on Google+ in just a few years. It takes a willingness to be engaged. In that time alone I’ve posted more than 72,500 Tweets.

  1. Never stop working your power base. Once you spark interest and connect—or reconnect—don’t quit. Never stop following up, whether they are sold or unsold. I have a prospect who wasn’t quite ready to do business and I had to figure out very creative ways over a period of eight months to stay in contact with him. One month, I sent him a report that I thought would interest him, then I sent a video for his staff’s sales meeting, another month I checked in using a text, and then asked if he would contribute to my blog. The next time I called him I asked, “When are we going to do business? You know I won’t quit until we do.” I still haven’t gotten his business, but I am growing my power base and I won’t quit until he’s a customer.

You can use all of these follow-up techniques and more to stay in contact with your power base, your warm contacts, cold contacts, and anyone else you want to get your product in front of.

Light up your power base and keep it lit by turning those you know and meet into screaming fans. Become exceptional in building and growing your power base and you will never be without opportunity.

Be great,

Grant Cardone