Networking is a key activity in most small business’s marketing mix.
The challenge with networking is that there are so many different options, all offering a slightly different USP.
Our experience with networking is that it is the most cost effective source of marketing, but also the most time consuming and the hardest to work out your return on investment (ROI).
It is also an area that most small businesses have little training or coaching around how to network effectively. This is part one of our blog on better networking.
The Networking Misconception
The biggest single mistake we see new networkers make is trying to sell to the room (the people you are networking with). Generally the room is not your marketplace, you need to be selling through the room to the connections of the people you meet.
Give the room something to remember you by, give them a niche you can serve. When asked what your ideal client is, please don’t say ‘anyone really…’ because that doesn’t help. Your ideal client may well by ‘anyone’ but when networking be specific, i.e. instead of saying ‘anyone’ say ‘we are great with medical professionals, especially dentists or doctors’. This gives the other person a focus on what you can do, it will also increase your chances of getting business ‘through the room’.
A Few Pointers
Here are a few networking pointers, take the ones you like and feel free to use them –
- Have a well rehearsed 30 second elevator pitch – When someone asks what you do, make sure you can answer succinctly and in a way that makes sense in a quick and easy way
- Follow Up – Essential, whoever you meet, follow up afterwards
- Set Aims – Go to a networking event and give yourself goals. Never expect to win business, but aim for ‘agreement to coffee’ with 3 or 4 people
- Get an Attendee List – Find out who is going to be there, then make sure you speak to the people you want to speak to, get you agreement for coffee with them, then it’s mission accomplished
- Listen – Nobody likes to just hear what you do, make sure you find out about the other person first
We will be publishing part 2 soon, so watch out for it, or subscribe to our mailing list here. Alternatively, add your comments above and we will always respond.
Author Byline – By David Farmer
April Article of The Month