So, you want to make more money. You know you need to draw more leads to your business, but are you’re not sure how to do so. The answer just might lay in networking.
The main reason business owners engage in networking is to draw more leads to their businesses and make more money. Sounds perfect, right?
Successful networking, however, is more than joining a local business networking group and attending a couple of meetings with a name tag stuck to your shirt. Good networking requires time, research and well-planned execution to get results. Learn about the different phases of the networking process and how to succeed in each one of them.
Before jumping in, take some time to prepare.
-Pinpoint your ideal audience. Know the types of customers you are targeting before you begin networking.
-Based on your target customer, identify the best networking functions to attend. While you never know which connections may come in handy, you, as a business owner, probably don’t have time to waste at a function that doesn’t fit well with your business.
-Differentiate yourself. Be able to tell people what sets your business apart from the rest.
-Practice your pitch. Develop a 30-second speech that efficiently details your business and ends with an engaging question that could lead to a conversation.
Keep in mind that when you are networking face-to-face, in addition to selling your business, you are also selling yourself.
-In order for someone to buy from you, they must 1. like you, 2. believe you 3. have confidence in you and 4. trust you. For these things to happen, you must find ways to connect with people at a personal level and make yourself appear relatable and approachable.
-Remember the “work” in networking. You do not attend networking events to socialize, drink or hang out with people you already know. If you’re feeling shy, just look at approaching new people as part of your job and it will seem less intimidating.
-Close. In most networking situations, you aren’t going to make a sale on the spot. Get a potential customer to agree to a one-on-one follow-up meeting or another verbal commitment, if possible.
The event may be over, but the networking isn’t.
-Follow up promptly. Although you may have piqued someone’s interest at the event, their interest will likely dwindle over time. Plan to follow up with your new leads the next day.
-Send a hand-addressed, personal letter in the mail. The average U.S. worker receives 52 emails a day, over half of which are deleted without being opened. Alternatively, 90 percent of hand-addressed letters are opened and read. While email can provide quick communication, sending a letter in the mail is a way to show you value someone’s business.
-Practice! Your first go-around at networking might not be the success you hoped for. But, the more practice and exposure you get, the easier networking will become and the more leads you’ll generate.
Networking can be intimidating, but the results are worth the effort. At ActionCOACH Tampa Bay, we can equip you with the tools and strategies to be a networking success! Call today to see how we can help your business flourish!