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Networking doesn’t work!

How can one person walk out of an event and think “That was awesome and so good for business!”

And another walk out and think “What a waste of 2 hours, that did nothing for my business!”

How is that possible?

Who is right?

The BWN has hosted thousands of events across the East of England (and are now in London and Warwickshire too and we never thought we would say this but thanks to Covid 19 we are now seeing business owners from often 7 counties and 3 countries attending our events – recently we had guests from Ireland, Dubai, America, Sri Lanka, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgshire, Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, London, Warwickshire and Kent!) Our events for women in business around networking and business growth and are now in our 12th year and yet we still hear comments from both extremes. (Mostly we hasten to add exceptionally positive ones with women saying it’s the one thing in the month they will never miss.)

So what makes networking powerful and how can you ensure it wasn’t a waste of two hours?

No one bought anything from me!

If no one is buying from you it is not the fault of the networking organisation, it’s your fault. (Sorry to be blunt) We actually heard someone say “The people in this group don’t spend money” and the very next conversation our coordinator had that day was with a woman in business who told us that she realised that in a year and half she had made just over £50k of sales from our network alone. (She is not alone in results like that we have members making over £100k of sales every year with us! Someone was definitely spending money!)

So how could it be so different for these 2 business women in the same room of people?

A number of things impact on your networking success for sales;

  1. You have to be comfortable with your price. If your prices are too low then you will East of england networking sue cookmake people nervous that what you sell “isn’t very good”. Interestingly if you are comfortable with your price we rarely hear of a price that is too high, because if you know you offer an exceptional experience, care deeply about your customers, deliver exceptional standards and results, then people will pay. So yes, get comfortable with your price. (Interestingly it is often a conversation we see on the Insiders “I’m scared to put my prices up!” So if you are an Insider you can do some market research and test your pricing there confidentially.) If you aren’t comfortable with your prices, your potential customers won’t be either! Learn more about the Insiders click here.
  2. You have to be comfortable with your product. Another reason that you aren’t selling (or people aren’t buying – depending on your viewpoint) is because you aren’t comfortable with what you offer. (Again the Insiders is somewhere we see people hone their offerings to get this just right.) If you are trying to sell something that no one wants then it’s going to be tough. On the other hand if you use your networking to carry out some market research with the people that you have grown to know, like and trust then you can hone your offerings to sell more. If you are comfortable with your products (and love them!) the passion will rub off on your network.
  3. You are there to build relationships not empires. Okay so we are more than happy to help you buildBuilding relationships at The Business Womans Network your empire (as big as you like!) but before you can build empires you need to build a network. And if you speak to the most powerful and successful women in the world they will tell you there biggest mistake they have made in their careers was that they thought they could stop networking. Networking builds relationships. It nurtures your reputation. It ensure people know who you are, what you do and why you do it. They are people you want to enable to see they can trust you and if you don’t turn up every month to every event, that can’t happen. As our Founder Mandie Holgate often says networking is a marathon not a sprint. (There are things you can do to speed up results, but you will need to turn up regularly to achieve great sales results and create new opportunities for your business.)
  4. Control your brand. We hear people say “It’s so frustrating that people don’t get what we can do for them” it’s not other peoples job to understand what you do, it is your job to help people to appreciate how you can help. An elevator pitch is a great opportunity to break down the barriers to what people think about your business and your products. Again you need to do this every month to ensure that after each elevator pitch you can find out what people thought. Did they understand what you do? What didn’t they understand? What did they think it was all about? On the Insiders Facebook page you will find a great worksheet to help you ensure your sales pitch in the elevator pitch section is spot on and our Founders course on elevator ptiches – “Supercharge your 60 seconds – how to sell well in 60 seconds” has been proven time and time again to work. One business woman said she had only done half the course and was already selling more at networking events – Learn more and buy here.
  5. If you are not in the room, you can’t control the conversation around your business. We cbe visible at The BWNan not stand gossip. However we’ve heard conversations in the room like these “I hear they aren’t trading any more” “I hear they don’t do that any more” “I don’t think they work with people like you anymore” If you aren’t in the room, you can’t control the conversation. Gossip does happen so if you want your brand to be positively represented you need to be visible. Great networking enables you to visible. (Even if you aren’t talking a great deal!) And as a side note, as a good networker we have fed back to the business that wasn’t in the room the incorrect gossip that was being spread. It was most definitely not an easy thing to do however as a great networker you want to help your network achieve great things and you should want to protect their businesses too.  We also don’t tolerate gossip or clickiness at our events and our coordinators are taught how to ensure our events remain inclusive for all. Some conversations are not easy in business, it does not mean you shy away from them. (Again it’s a great chance to build your reputation and credibility as business women appreciate how much  you will stand up for and protect their business, their brand and their reputations.)
  6. Listening. The business women that we see do really well are often the ones that don’t speak a lot about their needs or business. They are the ones that are actively listening. They are likely to be thinking “How can I help this person?” networking success manual“Who would it be good for this person to know?” “I will follow up with this person like this”To get the best out of networking know in the back of your mind what you want out of that networking event and then side step that to be on every other businesses agenda.
  7. Follow up. Those that do well out of networking, follow up just the way they said they would. Building relationships is the most important thing you can do to grow your business and your network. The bigger the network, the more opportunities, the more potential clients, the more knowledge, etc, etc. Build your reputation as someone that can be trusted by doing what you said you would do. Create a clear follow up strategy that you stick to – our BWN success manual can really help with this. You can buy your copy here
  8. New. The business women that benefit the greatest from networking know that it is not just about sales, reputation and building strong relationships in a strong network. It is also about learning new skills and knowing what is going on in the business world. When we are busy and profitable as a business we can take the decision to drop the networking. However you can get as much benefit out of the free flowing conversations after the structured content as you can out of the masterclass because other business women will know what’s happening in the US (If it’s over there, it will be over here soon and you can be ahead of the wave!). You can find out about latest legislation that may have slipped by your offices attention. You can even find that another business woman faces exactly the same issues as you and have ideas on how to fix it. Stay in the office and yes the to do list shrinks, but you don’t get the opportunities that aren’t so clearly definable. And we’ve seen this first hand be the case for literally hundreds and hundreds of business women. As one business woman said to us, “Yes the BWN helps me makes sales, but it also keeps me sane and stops me from living and working in a bubble!” We love how we saw 2 Tropic Ambassadors in a virtual networking event give advice to a new Tropic Ambassador on how to sell more – all in the same company, should be considered as competition, all working together – that’s powerful networking!
  9. In it to win it. It will always make us a little sad to see someone attend for 3 months Networking - don't hide(a whole 7.5 hours of their 90 (ish) days) and get to know people and then they don’t make it one month, no big deal right? Except that is the month that the person you’ve had a general chit chat with has decided they are ready to buy and you aren’t there! The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real on this occasion! We’ve seen so many business owners miss out from VA’s, Accountants and printers, to cosmetics companies, web designers to residual income opportunities. It’s shocking how easy it happens and depressing how easy it is to fix. If you are going to network, network every month and don’t let anything move it. It is as important as any other aspect of your business. You wouldn’t miss seeing the dentist, would you? Why because you want to look after your teeth all of the time.

So can a network be good for one and not another? We think there is enough space for all of the networks and that ensures every business owner can network in a style that suits them. We also think that some business women don’t appreciate the full value of networking to grow a successful business and alas as the saying goes “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” And for us, our careers have rocketed since we networked regularly at The BWN and yet we never miss the events we say we will attend. We know the true value of networking and how to maximise the benefits for you too. We are happy to have a chat about that anytime so you can get maximum benefit too.

If you are struggling we have the following additional learning to help your business;

Course – How to find your target audience and get them buying

Course – How to rocket your confidence

Course – Highly effective ways to rocket sales with no cost / low cost marketing strategies.

Course – Supercharge your 60 seconds.

Course – How to be a powerful successful public speaker  – anywhere!

Course – Foundation blocks to a highly successful business.

Book – Your Daily Dose of Business Woman’s Confident And Success

Book – Fight the fear – how to beat your negative mindset and win in life.

Book – The BWN Networking Success Manual – the genius book to get the most out of networking.

Book – Taking Control of your mind – lifehacks to resilience, confidence and success.

You can learn more and buy the courses here.

And you can buy the books here.


This article was written by Mandie Holgate, Founder of The Business Womans Network, International speaker and author, her books are highly acclaimed by business leaders, leading authors, a good few celebrities and business owners around the world. Fight the fear (the book that looks at the top 12 fears that impact on success) and Taking Control Of Your Mind are just 2 of the must read books that make business and success easier. You can meet Mandie at the  Colchester and Braintree events and she pops into as many events across our network as she can each month now delivering an hour free of coaching and mentoring for all of our guests. Mandie is happy to connect with all women in business so feel free to do this via her website – www.mandieholgate.co.uk

  • January 2, 2020

They quibble our fees!

Over on the Insiders I had this question asked. As a business and life coach with extensive experience of what makes us busy business women tick and how to use that to achieve more. I wanted to give you some ideas so you can confidently say “this is our price!” without feeling like you are being greedy or risking business. Let me know how you get on.

Mandie holgate founder of The business womans network The phone rings and you do the happy dance because out of the blue someone wants what you do. Great feeling isn’t it?

(Well okay not out of the blue if you are an Insider or one of my client’s you know it’s about the branding, the vision, the mission, the marketing, the ethos and then it’s about the products and services and a ton of other things too (especially the actions and mindset!)

The point is, this is what business is about. Getting the sales.

You then discuss their needs – ensure you utilise that information in your follow up conversations and communications (top tip!) and get a proposal over to them.

 

 

They say “great, lets’ do this.” And you get the purchase order arranged, a date in the diary and it’s all systems go. Except…

Then you get the message. “Just wanted to check if;

  • It’s okay that our secretary sits in this too. I know we only booked for myself and my business development manager but that’s okay right?
  • You could also just have a quick look at so and so, it probably doesn’t need a lot doing, but if you could just…
  • It will be okay for you to give us some advice on X too, we think we are pretty much there, but if you could cast your eyes over it would be great.

The list of “Can you just’s” is long and it is often so subtle that you find yourself thinking things like;

  • “Well we are there any way.”
  • “What’s the big deal if other members of the team sit on in this?”
  • “They are going to love us all the more if we over deliver on this!”

And that’s the point, you are so intent on doing your best, delivering to the very best of your ability that you miss that you are now working for free.

The problem is that while you may recognise these statements, there are probably subtle ones going on right now in your business that you give in to. And by doing that you could be;

  • Reducing your profit margins.
  • Reducing your money making hours.
  • Overworking for some and neglecting other clients.
  • Causing unnecessary stress.
  • Not having enough hours to work on your business.
  • Not the hours to take on new customers.

And that’s just a few of the issues I see arise from coaching clients because they are really nice business owners who give too much.

So we know what’s going on, but how do you fix it?

Here’s a few ideas to get you started….

With new customers and regular ones you are never going to turn into a Highway Cowboy robber and start shouting “Give us ya money!” are you? However in your head you may well be thinking, this just is not viable for us. Is this a loss leader or is this damaging our success? And ultimately what you want Is more money, however you never need to say this. Ever.

Often before I help clients find new markets and more customers I help them look at the calibre of clients they already have. And if we discover they aren’t fitting into the business model of the company then we do something about it. Ultimately what happens is the business owner either renegotiates with their current customers because their prices probably haven’t gone up in 4 to 8 years (and yet their costs have so their profit margins have suffered!) or they explain what will be tangible moving forward. Rarely have I seen a client lose business, if anything their customers are loyal, love working with my clients and are keen to ensure it’s a fair relationship so fees go up. And if they do lose clients, it’s a real relief to get rid of the customer that was sucking them dry. (This also makes room for more great customers that do pay a fair price for an awesome job. So first things, first – know your numbers;

  • What is tangible?
  • What is sustainable?

If  you are an Insiders check out my Profit calculator so you can ask yourself “If I was working the maximum hours with fee paying clients would I be making the profit margin I want AND have the life and business I want?”

When you know you have the right customers It’s never about saying give us more money. It’s about analysing their needs, understanding their budget and working out where that can meet. It’s great to show you care and give more, mandie holgate life and business coach essexhowever if giving more becomes you reverting to the negative observations above then you’ve given too much. Learn to communicate in a powerful way. What words do your customers love to hear, what words feel your customers with dread(sometimes they can be very powerful in your negotiations – for instance if you customers hate the costs associated with rehiring staff and that means they feel stressed out trying to find the right staff and then there’s the hassle of training them, and will they stay, etc – if you only talk about ensuring you hire the right staff can increase profit margins, you are aren’t talking about the deep down real issue to the business owner (who obviously wants to make more money) the real issue is the grief, stress and sleepless nights its going to personally cause them too. Including the positive and the negative in the right quantities really helps you communicate with power. I find coaching style questions taught to my clients can help them find these answers and really understand the needs of their customers while still ensuring your needs are met.

A great question to ask is “What is your budget?” For me I say I can cater for most budgets (you will see why in a later top tip) however this makes it clear that you are not going to give them the moon on the stick but that you still will do all you can for them. Remember these words “We are a business, not a charity”. (That works well for many of my clients!)

A big area that many business owners get themselves in a pickle is around price. The business owner is thinking “We need to make £X an hour” and the client has their own agenda. With these 2 thoughts bought together you get one price. However the interesting bit is how one photographer/coach/Copywriter/baker charges ££ and another charges £££££ – how is that possible? Because the ones charging a great rate and attracting awesome customers doesn’t use the above equation to work out their rates, they work on value. For instance, take my job. I charge £175 per hour. Do I then charge £175 to work with me for the day? No, how is that possible? Because if I’ve got 12 people working with me in a room for the day that in theory is £1400. However what is that day worth to the individual? To the company?

If you start to consider this then you can see there is a very different equation at work here. Don’t charge people according to what it costs you an hour, charge people according to the value they will tangibly get from their time with you. For instance if I work with 12 people and reduce stress in the office every day, help them to increase productivity, work smarter and increase profit, that’s worth a lot of money to that company. And while I’m not going to charge them the full value of that, I will charge a fair fee. It’s far easier to do this when you see the true value you bring. A word of caution here – don’t get wishy washy about it. Be real. Be honest. Making people happy or making something that’s pretty maybe nice but what is the tangible result of that?

Still struggling to communicate powerfully “this is our price”? Take just 4 minutes to total how much you’ve spent on your career – the training, studying, research, books, resources. Now add the cost of your office costs, commute costs, etc.fight the fear reading to grow business mandie holgate Factor all of these in and you start to see that your rate is far more than just fair. Your experience, investment in training, knowledge, staying up to date and cutting edge – rarely do  I see an hourly rate that reflects this. Even if you don’t increase your rates to reflect this in its entirety knowing this information usually ensures  you’ve no issue in increasing your rates by some percentage.

Remember if you can’t value your time then why should  your customers?

If someone really doesn’t have the budget (and this is something I see) then how could you still help them? A few years ago I realised there were a lot of people I’d love to help however they just weren’t in the position to invest in my coaching (although funny, how we justify somethings but not others? If you’ve got potential clients who quibble your fees but have perfectly manicured nails, drive a new car and have perfect hair that is freshly styled at the salon, it is possible it’s not that they can’t afford it, it’s more than likely that they don’t see the value or feel it will work for them so either change your marketing or stop chasing the wrong type of potential clients.) As a result of wanting to help more people I set up the Insiders, my online courses and books. I’ve been told I could charge double for the Insiders and they’d still pay and I could charge 400% more for my courses and they’ve have still bought them. Will I put the prices up? No, because its part of my mission statement and ethos to be accessible to all that want help. So if someone doesn’t have the budget and you are tempted to give it away, how could you help them and honour your business?

Automated courses, books, group sessions are a great way of helping more people without damaging your ability to make a profit, not kill yourself off and achieve what you want to personally and professionally.

Some people will always try and get free. They will corner you at events, ask questions on line and even phone you for advice, will they ever spend money with you? No. These people don’t even realise they are doing it, however you need to be able to spot these people and maintain your integrity but ensure they don’t sap your business dry. My saying may help;

If you want V.I.P then you need to pay, if not you can still get some in the cheap seats – VIP or Cheap seats? Their call.

Remember when you attract the right customers they expect to pay for your services. They aren’t trying to get something for nothing. They will negotiate with respect and turn up with some idea of budget. And if you find yourself constantly dealing with price quibblers, maybe ask yourself how is our marketing communicating to people? And that’s an article for another day or head over to The Insiders to continue this conversation and get more ideas.

If you want to keep up to date with me you can access all of my social media via my site here. And I’ve not added any links to my books or courses so you know that this is just me overdelivering to those are care most about. xxx

  • July 23, 2019