I remember when I started to look at networking as being one of my strategies to gain more clients. Each week I would go through google and see what networking functions were listed in my local community. I would get my business cards ready – Right – That is what I was told to do and go along and meet potential prospects. You know you got to get out there and meet people, right!
I would go along to the meetings with a smile on face whilst shaking a lot of hands. Engaging in a lot of small talk and pleasantries with strangers; only to find myself frustrated and discouraged with the lack of results and my dwindling bank balance.
I found that the people I was meeting would never in a million years become my client. I thought this is impossible. Occasionally I found one good one, who asked me to follow them up. And when I did, they didn’t even remember me most of the time.
The pile of business cards on my desk were piling up. And I still didn’t know who were the best prospects to follow up. I thought to myself “this is hopeless, there must be a better way – After all I was doing all the right things, I was listening, being attentive, letting them talk first, professionally dressed and still no results”. It seemed like an impossible task.
I tried sharing tips and resources with people who I meet, including referrals, expecting them to do the same, but still I was not getting any results. It was hard work.
Frankly, it felt like networking was only for the few, good looking, fast talking, who were not afraid to pitch their ideas to anyone, and that just wasn’t me. Now I am getting really discouraged.
Does this sound familiar
Then I got it –
No one cares what you do, so stop saying that you are a coach/ consultant/ graphic designer and all the rest. This is what they all do isn’t it?
People only care about what you can do for them and have zero interest in your business.
You need to apply the tactic of garbing their attention. So, let’s look at how you can do this.
For example, you come up to a person and typically say this – “I own a sporting store verses “I turn an amateur weekend warrior into an athlete, “this grabs their ATTENTION, and of course they will say tell me more about this.
Great now you have their Attention – You can’t stop there – Now you have to look at what you do next to get them to go through their decision-making process to buy from you.
This sequence of events now becomes your sales process for your networking strategy. What is yours?
Networking by itself is only a Tactic. So just attending a networking function to simply chit chat with others may not lead to the result that you are looking for – which is sales! Right!
You need to be approaching networking strategically. What would happen if you attended networking events that are filled with your targeted audience?
You show up armed with a compelling message you created and practiced regularly, and being able to deliver it so instantly capturing their attention?
You then hand them your business card that contains that same message, and on the back of your card there is an irresistible offer for them to download an article of value to their business, or other compelling offers.
Then upon returning back of the office you email them, following up 3 days later to have a face-to-face meeting.
You see now, you are putting together a series of tactics which becomes part of your networking strategy to close your sales. Each tactic plays a part in building the know, like and trust factors that are essential for business success today.
Unfortunately, 99% of business owners who attend networking events have no strategy in place. They crank out the typical “I am a _______” spiel and wonder why they don’t get results, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and holding a lot of business cards. And the worse thing is, they do the same thing over and over and expect different results.
Does this sound familiar. Then of course “Networking doesn’t work” and they don’t take the time out to put in place the strategic plan for networking.
Have a look at what you are doing, and take some time to put your networking strategic plan in place and then reap the rewards of your efforts.
Can I help you with this?
All the best in Business
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