Sales Masters Guild Mentor, Jo Driver, asks the question; “Are your networking activities working for you?“. For many, the answer is “no!”, but how can they change this?
Networking is a marketing strategy that is almost essential for starting up or growing a business and one, I believe to be of huge benefit to any business owner. There’s a well know statement “It’s not what you know but who you know that is important” or another simple quote that resonates with me is “Your Network = Your Net Worth”.
With so many networking opportunities available there are many business owners that think Networking is a long term strategy, which takes months of attending the same networking group, and having to show up every time it runs, meeting the same people every month, in order for it to be beneficial to them, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
I really enjoy attending a variety of Networking events, which given that I’m an Introvert, people think it is strange that is has always been one of my main marketing strategies for me and something I enjoy and put a lot of time into. However when I looked back over my years of Networking, I realised that I only began to enjoy it and my confidence increased, when I put a plan together for what I wanted my Networking activities to achieve and I had a structure of how best to achieve it, which included preparing and structuring the questions I needed to ask.
There are many ways to Network and different formats to networking events, not all the formats suit all businesses or people, but Networking doesn’t only have to be done at organised networking meetings. Many a time my best built business relationships and clients have come from just meeting and chatting to other business people when I’ve been out and about at a seminar or training event, or even over a casual meet up with like minded people. It’s how you Network, have quality conversations and follow up that is important.
Regardless of the amount of networking events that there are in any area, the majority of people that attend, are struggling to make their networking pay, mainly because they can’t easily articulate, what is they do and who they do it for. A lot of the time this is because they have not identified their target client and haven’t put any thought into the clarity of their marketing message that they are delivering in a way that is simple to understand, interesting and will leave people wanting to find out more.
If you have attended a Networking event and listened to the introductory speeches or had conversations out and about, you will have probably heard someone who will waffle on about the product or service they offer, complete with their own industry jargon, throwing in company names that they have worked with in the past in some vague hope that those listening will relate and understand what it is they do and you leave the event none the wiser to what they do and who they are looking to connect with.
I can assure you Networking doesn’t have to be a long term or costly process to find and attract potential customers, regardless of the product or service you are offering. I can’t turn you in to a professional networker overnight, like everything, it requires learning and practice but here are a few tips to get you on the right path.
- Remember the main purpose of networking is to make new quality connections, It is NOT an opportunity for you to sell. The worst thing you can do when networking is shove your business cards or leaflets on to people and turn it into a sales pitch. Networking should be about quickly building rapport and asking some quality questions that help identify if you can help them or connect them to someone else.
- Go networking with a very clear plan of exactly who you would like to meet and what business or connections you want to obtain. Remember when you meet someone you never know who they know in their network.
- Prepare and practice so that you are confident in delivering, a clear and simple way to describe your business and be able to swiftly answer the ‘What do you do’ question.
- Learn to ask quality questions about the person, you are talking to and their business so you can quickly and easily identify if and how you can help them, that maybe by the product or service you offer, or an Introduction to another business contact you know.
- If you do come across a potential customer or someone you think you could work with, arrange that you will call them to arrange a further 1-2-1 meeting.
- After the meeting follow up and keep in contact in some way, to continue building the relationship, whether this is via a social media platform, email or a phone call whatever works for you and them.
If you are not seeing a return from your networking activities as quickly as you would like, or it is simply not returning you the value you want, then I can help you become a professional networker.
My Pro-Networker Training workshops are always tailored to the delegates requirements so everyone gets as much out of the day as possible and you learn how to attend any type of Networking event with confidence and on purpose which will lead to gaining more quality connections and go on to win more business from any Networking activity.
- I will help you structure and perfect your introduction whether that be a 20 second to a 2 minute introduction.
- You will learn a strategy for meeting the right people at an event.
- We put together a clear and concise answer to the “What do you do?” question
- We look at how to quickly build rapport, moving on to building a solid structure to your conversations.
- How to elegantly exchange your business cards and agree the follow up call to meet, or the next point of contact.
You can find out when Jo’s is holding her next Pro-Networker Training and can book yourself into one over on her Pro-Networker Training booking page.
Jo Driver is a Sales Masters Guild Personal Business Mentor.
Jo’s transition to becoming a business entrepreneur began back in 1995, starting her own Training and Consultancy business. Jo has also built a Health & Wellness business and is a co-founding partner of JRD Property, a property investing business.