More Clients. Revenue. Influence. Sales. Impact. Success.
It is estimated that networking can yield 80% more results than cold calling. Networking can also increase your chances of landing a job by more than 70%. Whether you own a business, have a job or are looking for one, you should be networking.
Some common and misinformed reasons include, “I’m not a sales person, I can’t do face-to-face selling,” “I don’t even know where to go to network” and “I don’t have the time.”
Networking is NOT direct sales, and it isn’t a new idea. People have always done business with people whom they know and trust. How else to trust someone other than getting to know them?
Networking is all about developing relationships and can be the highest yielding strategy of your marketing plan. You can’t afford not to get involved.
Who is your ideal referral or strategic partner? These are the people who already have trusted relationships with your target customer or employer; they are their:
- Networking groups or
- Professional services suppliers
You aren’t looking to sell to these people, you are looking to build relationships, market yourself, then earn their referrals and give them referrals in return.
Identify what events these ideal partners attend, and be there! They could be market or vendor related events, associations, client events or even community and humanitarian activities.
Networking isn’t an overnight sales tool. Relationships built on trust and credibility take time, but they also have longevity far beyond a quick sale. Networking also isn’t a one-way street. These relationships should be mutually beneficial. Understand their business, what they do, what their personal and professional goals are, and what qualifies as a good lead for them. Pass them referrals as soon as you are comfortable and able and they will do the same for you.
Networking drives the growth of your business. To make the most out of every networking opportunity you must create an action plan wherein all of your networking activities are aligned to your strategically defined business goals.
- What are your networking goals?
- Reach business goals?
- Build relationships to generate new clients?
- Meet colleagues for possible collaborations?
- Develop brand and name recognition?
- Look for funding opportunities?
With a clear understanding of your desired outcomes, you’ll be able to develop a networking strategy that out delivers previous experience and your expectations!
The forethought put into preparing physically, mentally, conversationally and emotionally will contribute to a successful networking event as well as long-term results toward your goals.
Be Physically Prepared
- Name badge Business cards
- Pen and notepaper
- Brochures (if appropriate for your business)
- Professional attire and posture that reflects confidence
Be Mentally Prepared
- Focus on connecting and sharing with others
- Consider how you can support those you meet – then do it
- Have a “full practice” or “booked solid” mentality, energy and essence
- Avoid approaching networking from a “must make a sale” mindset ? it projects a scarcity mindset and attitude
Be Conversationally Prepared
- Listen and ask genuine, relevant and strategic questions
- Frame your responses and business oriented conversation to their needs and network
- Make your pitch emotionally compelling; emotional benefits garner higher interest
- Be enthusiastic
- Know how to create and leverage opportunities for your ideal contacts
Be Emotionally Prepared
- What you believe and feel on the inside is projected outwardly – have a winning attitude
- Align your thoughts and behavior with your level of service and integrity
- Disconnect from the problems and challenges that are occurring in your world
It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know – and networking is your most powerful path to mutually profitable relationships.
Join Sheri’ Taber, CEO of The Peak Performance Group, Inc. on August 23, 2011 at 2:30pm ET for the one-hour, eye-opening Networking C.R.I.S.I.S. webinar, sponsored by eWomenNetwork’s Success Institute. Register.
Sheri’ frequently presents her one and two hour Networking workshop to organizations and sales teams seeking to increase strategic partnerships and organic lead generation. You may contact her at Sheri’ or 1.800.513.6902.