Posts Tagged ‘Networking’
I have been doing a lot of Networking recently. Some groups I attend regularly and connect with business owners I have come to know well. Each month I look for one new group to attend.
Business cards are being handed out left and right. But,
Running a business is not easy. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Many times I see small business owners frantically implementing the marketing tactic du jour.
This approach to business can result in overwork and overwhelm. If your list of marketing tactics is a mile wide but an inch deep – that’s complicated and time consuming. And probably confusing for your client prospects.
A better approach is to go deep with a few select tactics that work best for you.
Think about the last five clients who hired you. Where did they come from? How did they discover you had the solution to their problem or need. What did you do to make it easy for them to find you? When they found you ( online or offline ) what did you say that got them to respond…You’re Hired!
I’m going to guess that when you examine your client list, most of them came through the same process.
Keep Doing That!
My business process is pretty simple:
1. Face to Face Networking: I regularly attend about 4 groups where I find my ideal client prospects. I try one or two new ones every month. And of course, I network at conferences and meetings when I speak and association meetings I attend.
2. Speaking: Speaking to Groups of my ideal client prospects is my #1 way to build my business. When you speak to groups, you can build the Know; Like; Trust; and Try part of the buying cycle on the spot! And move right to Buy.
Of course I support what I do with a strong presence on Social Media, a consistent, content rich newsletter, Blog and many other marketing tactics.
But my Big Two is where I focus the majority of my time and effort.
Simple, clear and effective. Review your business model and eliminate the clutter I guarantee you will discover.
Are you a speaker? Most people would answer ‘No” because we tend to think of speakers as someone who stand on a stage and gives a speech…Public Speakers. Yet, if you are in business, you are a speaker ! You speak to clients, you speak to your staff, you speak at social events, you speak at networking events, you speak to clients and customers.
How do you rate your communication on a scale of 1 (needs significant improvement) to 10 (excellent & effective) ? Many times, people are unwilling to pick just one number because they feel they communicate better in some situations than in others.
How do you rate your communication :
Speaking is a core competency for business success. Whenever you speak, others are making a judgement about you and your business expertise. Speaking in a business setting is a way to “audition” for a getting hired, promoted, closing a sale, and more.
Confident, Comfortable, Clear Communication gets heard and has impact!!
Powerful Presentations in meetings and on stage gets results!
Find out how to raise your score….
Speaking to groups to to grow your business does not always mean standing in front of a group or on a stage with a microphone and slides. Whenever you are speaking to someone you are communicating about your brand by how you look, act, and speak.
Is this person someone I want to collaborate with? Is s/he an expert in what they do? Do I want to hire her? Is he someone I want to develop a deeper business relationship with?
When you enter into a conversation during a formal or informal networking event be be sure the answer those question H#$%^ Yeah! She is!
For more on answering the question “What Do You Do?”
I wrote a post recently with the title “Is Networking a Waste of Time!” A few people misread it and thought it was a statement that said Networking is a waste of time. That was interesting because that ‘mistake’ I believe was their own internal belief about the lack of value (results) from their own networking experiences.
Networking is not a waste of time. It is a great way to be seen by others who can make a difference in your career or your small business success. Networking is about building realtionships and there is no better way to do that than in a face to face conversation.
The problem lies in the awkward feeling that many women and men have when they walk in to a networking event. Because they are uncomfortable, either they avoid this type of event or they participate but their discomfort is evident. You are not alone! A majority of people probably feel the same way as you do.
Simply think about networking as building relationships. Listen to other people’s stories. Do not worry about what you are going to say. The best networkers are those who genuinely express interest in the person they are speaking to. They offer others resources and opportunities. Don’t worry. When you are interested in helping and supporting others you will be memorable, like-able and someone people want to do business with. Remember whether it is forming partnerships with other business people, attracting clients to buy your products and services, or getting promoted and key assignments it all goes back to Know Like and Trust Networking is a perfect way to do that!
Over the last 24 hours I attended three Networking events. Two were on my schedule, the third was a bit impromptu. I had an appointment with my videographer to discuss the video she will do during my up coming LIVE event and she invited me to join her at a Networking lunch immediately after.
Were these events an investment in my business or did I just waste a lot of time?
The answer to that question is different for each of the three networking activities:
#1 Absolutely! 100% of the participants were in the sweet spot of my ideal client profile and the format allowed a lot of excellent conversation and relationship building
#2 Strong Potential. Participants were Business Women of all types. Some in my niche others not. All were good potentials for collaboration. I got a great lead for a possible Venue for my Live Event and met a Lawyer who I will follow up with. Collaboration, JV opportunities, and resources. Certainly worth my time and $10 for Oatmeal and Coffee
#3 Time will tell. The room was not filled with ideal clients. Significantly more men than women. Although I coach men, they come primarily through referral. Most don’t relate readily to my brand TheProfitableWoman.com until they get to know me
The ultimate answer to that question for all three events is the quality of my follow up. How well will I build and nurture the relationships and connections I made. I have already Linked In with a few, posted a relevant news article I read this morning on both of the groups Linked in Group, and will continue follow up today and next week
Is Networking worth my time – Unequivocally YES.
The mythical Glass Ceiling has been smashed over and over by smart, capable women in business and politics. Yet many women I meet still perceive an unfair advantage in their climb to the top. Other women who are self-employed seem to struggle for the results they want and deserve – even though they are the boss! So what is the solution ?
The most successful women I know have mastered these three business skills:
1. They are confident, effective communicators
2. They build a wide variety of relationships with business colleagues and client prospects
3. They feel the fear and take the necessary action anyway!
I call these three behaviors the Golden Triangle. When business women (and men) master these three skills their success in business skyrockets! And so does the treasure in their bank account!
“What do you do?” The universal networking question we have all been asked – thousands of times. Most people respond with a job title. A more effective way to answer the question is with a Marketing Impact Statement (MIS) sometimes called an elevator speech (E-Speech) or 30-second commercial.
The purpose of an E-speech or MIS is to engage and intrigue the person asking the question, inform them about your ideal client profile and the solutions you provide them and to enter into a conversation. The term elevator speech is based on the concept that you can deliver the E-speech or answer to the question “What do you do?” in 30- seconds or less! (It is wise to have a 5-second response as well as a 90-second one depending on whether you are going to the second floor or to the top of a skyscraper!)
Test and try different responses. Notice which one seems to be the most clear and gets the best response from someone who does not know what you do. Don’t give a speech...have a conversation.
PS: Are you clear on the answer to the question “What do You Do?” Email me to request more information on this topic. JEAN@JeanCaton.net
Throughout my corporate career I had to do a lot of mixing and mingling with customers and colleagues. I hated it! I am an introvert and small talk with customers, prospects, and the guys I worked with was not my favorite thing.
When I first became an entrepreneur, I recognized the importance of networking and knew, love it or hate it, networking was an essential skill for an entrepreneur to master.
I thought this meant more small talk and worse yet that it now meant selling my services and products. But I sucked it up and attended a lot of networking events. I passed out countless business cards with limited success.
I thought, maybe if I got a new business card, a better website, changed my elevator speech, or was better at selling I would get different results. I had it all wrong.
Once I realized networking was not about selling but about building relationships, it totally turned around my attitude and my results. I do not dread networking any more. In fact I enjoy listening to the business adventures and life stories of the people I meet. I no longer attempt to be interesting and impress others thinking that would be what would get them to buy. I no longer approach networking by trying to sell myself!
Instead, I now listen more than I speak. I am genuinely interested in the stories of the people I meet. I listen for an opportunity to help them by suggesting a referral, a resource, or a business tool that can help them be even more successful.
I now know effective and enjoyable networking means
Getting to know a lot of new people.
Reconnecting with people I have met before and move through the know, like and trust process.
Forming ongoing relationships.
Modeling The Masters
Returned from a conference in Orlando late Sunday night. Blocked a half day of free time for following up with what I learned and the great contacts I made. Actually the contact information of the 41 quality relationship ( aka biz cards) I received, is already in a list ready to be sent to my VA. I will invite them all to become a member of my community via my newsletter http://jeancaton.net/free/archive/ Follow up is the secret to going from a cardboard connection with a casual contact to a relationship with a colleague that can become a client, referral agent, resource, or JV partner.
Many of the “Masters” – my colleagues who are making multiple six figures in their own business, my role models and mentors, were at the conference. I watch and listen to them and model all that they do. From the way they speak, to the tools they use to promote their businesses, their websites, blogs, Twitter and FB approach, and more.
As I organize and file the information from the event sponsored by my coach http://suzanneevans.org/ I have even started a new file to compile my ideas for later reference – Modeling the Masters.
I suggest you find role models in your field and model them. They are the masters of success so must being doing something right!