Networking is about Relationships First
Many business people hate the thought of networking events because most people believe it involves speaking and selling and these are two things that most people feel uncomfortable with but it’s simply not true – most people will only buy from someone they know, like and trust and that is the first goal of networking.
A lot of people think of structured events like chambers of Commerce and networking organisations like BNI and these are great places to hone your networking skills with complete stranger – you have nothing to lose! In reality networking occurs everyday and everywhere, all around you. Every time you speak to a prospect, family member, friend, or client you are networking so you must have your business cards with you.
Marketing Preparation before Networking
The worst thing you can do is turn up to a networking opportunity without business cards and any idea of how to describe your business. This isn’t rocket science but you should have an idea of how you describe your business, why you got into it and what makes dealing with YOU so great. It’s also a good idea to have an idea in your head of the ideal client, the type of client who loves what you do and how much you charge and shares your details with everyone THEY know – the more of these clients you can get the happier you’ll be.
Some networking events give participants an opportunity to stand up and speak about you and your business and it’s good to have a story to tell.
Learn more about the early stages of your marketing message
You’re Not Looking for a Sale Unless You’re Desparate
If you end up speaking to someone who tells you their name, what they do and if you need their services you are speaking to someone YOU can really help because that is an aching feeling of desperation. It may mean that they are desperate to make a sale and get a new client but in reality it means they are aching for some structured training and practice on how to network properly!
Your first goal in networking is to get people to know you and like you and one of the best ways is by:
- Being yourself
- Be positive and helpful
- Be interested in the person you are talking to
You’re Looking For Introductions to Your New Contacts Friends
So, one you’ve relaxed and understand how networking really works you’ll realise that each person you meet knows dozens of other people and it’s those people who you really want to be connected to. The truth is you’re not going to get on with everyone but you should spend your time finding people that YOU like because the likelihood of them having friends and contacts that you can work with will be higher.
Networking is a long term strategy of building a brand for yourself and often builds momentum over a period of months as people REALLY get to know all about you and how you operate.
Do you trust the first person you meet? What about if it costs you money to use their services? If that’s you, just sign up for our services and get started! Most of us take time to get to know people because the true test of a good referral partner is someone who delivers on their promises. This means that you’ll be tested by good potential referral partners in lots of little ways like how well you present yourself, do you have all the information you need and did you turn up on time for a coffee catchup?
These small milestones are things we humans do instinctively but when you start paying attention to what those little tests involve and how to do well at them you will stand out to potential lead sources as a great person to work with.
Not Everyone Needs Your Services NOW
Just like we mentioned at the top of the page not everyone needs someone like you ALL the time and particularly probably NOT right now. This is why it is good to have a way of keeping in contact with them and it doesn’t always have to be by catching up for a coffee, it could be by connecting on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media websites. It could also be by putting their details into a CRM or an automated marketing list which you can use to automatically and easily ping them (and everyone else you’ve met) .