For those who interact with me personally, it will come as no surprise that 90% of my business comes from networking. I attend as many networking events as I can, I meet as many people as possible and I collect a lot of information about who they are and what they do which I then pass along to other networking contacts. This week we will be talking about networking again because I believe it is one of the most useful skills you can have as a business owner and one of the easiest things you can do to get more business. Every day we will talk about one aspect of networking as well as practical tips to becoming a master networker. Remeber the saying “It isn’t who you are, it’s who you know”. Make networking a habit. Your bonus tip for today is to devote 5 minutes every day to building your network and see how it grows.
Getting the introduction right during the first few seconds is important. This is when you are establishing yourself and setting the expectation for the rest of the conversation. Here are some tips on nailing the into during the first 30 seconds.
Some of you found my site through a link on your phone. How did I do that? There is a new marketing tool out there called Asirvia which uses proximity advertising to deliver messages to people near me. It’s easy to stop such messages and isn’t intrusive but can be a huge benefit to those who network a lot (like me) or have a location they are trying to generate engagement at. Imagine if your customers got a coupon for just walking by your storefront or 30% of the people at a networking event got a link to your website even if they haven’t met you yet. It is a powerful tool and is getting results for me (and I’m not even an ideal case). Check it out for yourself. Warning, they used an MLM model for their distribution but I am not signed up for that part, I just wanted the device. The compensation looks sketchy and they have unrealistic numbers for how to get paid. My advice is to use the gadget and leave the “unlimited earning potential” alone.
Leads are the lifeblood of any business. In Direct Sales, it is doubly important and at the same time almost twice as hard. DS gets a stigma which shuts down leads before they even have a chance to hear your message. Here are some places to get new leads. Remember, people buy from people they trust. Develop the trust, then develop the lead.
There is no one step solution to your Social Media Marketing needs but LinkedIn can be a force multiplier to your efforts especially if you are targeting other businesses. It should be a part of your strategy, not your entire strategy. Use it mostly for networking if your targets are consumers and not businesses. If you have content marketing as your primary strategy use LinkedIn as a way to gain credibility. LinkedIn is very versatile and businesses ignore it at their peril.
The Golden Rule of Networking: Don’t Keep Score. Great advice and the only way to approach networking events. If you worry about who owes you then you don’t get the point of networking. If you approach networking with a service attitude you will get more out of it. Relax, have fun, help out your fellow humans. It will increase your networking capital more than keeping score.
One of the requirements of networking is to meet people. In fact, that is the definition of networking. But where do you find people to network with? Here are 10 suggestions for locations to find potential clients. Make sure you aren’t just showing up to pitch, that’s sales. Network, meet, listen.
The most interesting thing I find about networking is how people don’t know they need you until they meet you. “You do custom software, I always thought of making an app for my business”. “You clean the sidewalks outside of stores? Mine are getting grungy and I hate doing it myself”. These are conversations I have heard and watched deals close. Of course, the longer you network, the better known you are and the more trusted you become. It’s an investment and will pay off over time.
Another reason to put efforts into networking is getting advice. Every networking event I have been to I get asked questions about marketing or sales and I freely give out good information. Almost everyone I interact with at the meetings does the same. I see thousands of dollars worth of consulting being handed out because we know each other and we ask. It’s also how we get more business. I ask a financial adviser for information, it turns out to be great information, who do you think I am going to hire?
For maximum effect, you should spend about an hour a day networking for your business. Dr. Misner found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.Conversely, the people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network.
Elevator pitch, you must have one. The first 10 seconds of your pitch are the most crucial since that is all you may get, so make sure you grab attention. The first 10 seconds should have your name, company and what you do. “I’m Jason Porter with My Business Adviser and I solve business problems.” Fast. Simple. Attention-grabbing.
Now that they know who you are and what you do, the second part of your elevator pitch is why they care. “I do that by teaching small business owners how to market and grow their business” This lets them decide if they are interested in you working with them.
The last part of your elevator pitch is to prove it. You have told them what you do so you need to back up those words with a short example “for example one of my clients, Heidy, saw her sales triple within two weeks of her coaching”
Now close it with a call to action, “I’m looking for other business owners that feel overwhelmed and need a boost in profitability and sales.” This is a soft Call to Action and you can take a more direct route if it suits you and you know the person you are talking to is your ideal client, for example, “I’d like to see if I can produce similar results for you, do you have 5 minutes so I can ask you a couple of questions?”. If you are going to take more time, be sure you are specific on how much of their time you will take. If the person you are talking to expresses interest then setting up a future meeting, that is fine as long as you set a specific appointment and not a vague “we’ll meet later”.
There it is, a step by step process for creating your elevator pitch. It is set up this way in case you don’t have time to do the whole thing, you get the most important part out first. Remember, practice, practice, practice. This works best when it flows.