How can 1 business owner walk into a networking event and gain new business and another fail?
Is it just down to what they sell?
Or is there more to it than that?
Here our Founder, @Mandieholgate shares some tips on getting more out of your networking experience, so that time, effort and money deliver a return on your investment
- It’s not selling, it’s building. A big mistake business owners and business development mangers make is walking into the room wanting to sell. It’s a slower approach that will not be sustainable. Obviously you are there to sell. That’s a given. Everyone is! However the key to great sales from networking is getting remembered for the right reasons. So aim to get to know people. Remember the very true saying, people need to know you, trust you and like you to buy from you. And this top tip ensures other networkers will want to promote your business for you! You won’t even need to be in the room to gain new leads!
- Relationships matter. So take the time to get to know people and build relationships with them. Ask them about their businesses and what they’re looking for. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to position your products or services as a solution to their problems. Before you go create 5 questions you could ask in conversation. If it’s virtual, work out in advance you will write in the chat box. The beauty of virtual networking (especially with the Insiders) is that you can write this in advance. Even test it out on the Insiders confidential mastermind group to work out if it will work!
- Hook! As I like to say “Unless you are selling Ferraris for a fiver, it’s not likely people will buy immediately – that said when I network I usually gain at least one sale! Knowing what will hook people into wanting to know more is crucial. If you don’t know take this course or ask the Insiders to review your 60 seconds elevator pitch. We are great at looking at your communications and helping you work out what would engage people and encourage communication and sales.
- Listening trumps talking! I love this tip for the shy networker, why? Because everyone at a networking event wants to talk. So the more you listen the more they get what they want. And that gets you remembered for the right reasons. Remember, it will be hard to be a great networker if you don’t remember what people do, who they want to connect with and how they can help people you know. One of my secret weopons to networking success it that I genuinely want to know you and your business. Got a team? I want to know them too! What’s on your mind? What are you worried about? The more I know the more I can help, and if I can’t help, I can signpost you to someone that can. It’s one of the many reasons why people love our mastermind group, because we don’t just provide you with a place to network, we actively look to ensure you get the connections you need. So listen intently. Rubbish at listening? Say in your head every word they say. It’s a great way to stop yourself from preparing something else to say.
- Transparent, genuine authenticity trumps perfection. business owners can spot a fake a mile off and we’ve all had enough of the perfect “living your best life” posts. Be yourself with the next top tip giving you a bit of balance to that! I’m not over keen on fake it until you make it. Far better to be yourself. Trust that by letting people get to know you, you will be a reputation for who you are. People want to know you and help you. Especially Insiders If you find this hard to do, it’s likely to be a lack of confidence or a hidden fear. My confidence course will fix that and chapter 5 of Fight the fear will too.
- Be positive. Okay, so the cat could have thrown up in your shoe, the car didn’t start, you got caught out in a rainstorm (another reason to love online networking!) and you’ve had a lousy start to the day. Get some good music on before you hit the networking. you want to be remembered for the right reasons and coming in all doom and gloom, will not help you to network. There’s a big difference between being honest and being miserable. We will do all we can to support you through tough times that’s our promise.
- Givers gain! This may be the BNi saying but it’s one I’ve lived by my whole career. Walk in and ask yourself “What would the people in this room benefit from?” What do you know that would be relevant, useful, interesting and beneficial to those in the room? What value could you offer the business owners and professional that you meet? When you offer value, people will be more likely to remember you and do business with you in the future.
- Follow up. This is the money left on the table every month. Had a great chat – follow up! Mentioned a good book (one of mine?) send a link! Mentioned a meeting that could help them, send the details! Take every opportunity to appear in their inbox, social media feed and life for the next month. It’s one of the biggest fails I see in networking strategy. It’s not salesy to say something like “Great to meet you today, here’s the link to that event I mentioned, I’m going too so we could meet up for coffee afterwards? Any time I can assist with anything, please do not hesitate to get in touch.” Not salesy – helpful! In ideal world, find them on all social media channels and not just the ones you like. Another reason to ensure your email signature contains the links to make it easy for them.
- Goal! I know I said it wasn’t about selling but you do need to know why you network. For Insiders they network for the following reasons;
- New business.
- Sales (obvious right?)
- Learn new ideas and trends.
- Road test ideas, products and services.
- Get out of the office and talk to real people!
- Feel supported and inspired.
- Create your marketing team that promotes you even when you are busy.
- Gain new opportunities – amazing how many members have won awards, gained funding, been paid to speak at events all because they started networking with us.
- Avoid the pitfalls and dangers of running your own business. Another amazing facts is how scary it is that so many people still get things like data protection or security wrong. These are both lethal to profit, time management and growth. And the right network can ensure you are up to date and avoid risks.
- Build confidence. We’ve helped over 10,000 men and women to overcome public speaking fears, build confidence and feel comfortable speaking about their business. We can not stress how important confidence is to your success and we are here to help you make sure you have true internal confidence.
- Burst your bubble – you can be at risk of thinking you know everything and you’ve got the right idea. Getting out to network can ensure you stay bang on trend and really know what’s going on in the world. Remember your view is reinforced by social media becaus eof what you look at. It is rarely challenged. Networking is a great way to learn.
- Build relationships.
- Have fun – it may sound like an odd one but it’s a great way to meet like minded business owners and enjoy your business more.
- Make friends.
- Buy gifts.
- Get your butt kicked! I recently launched a service just for Insiders where I will mentor / training them via email for £100 per hour. So far the results have been amazing. And knowing they’ve got me by their side at every networking event makes them accountable to the results – accountability is so important to sustainable business growth.
These are just a few things you can do to get more out of your networking. Head over to the Insiders and I will happily support you to greater networking success – it really is just £20 a month. My passion is your business and as a multi award winning business woman, I can prove it too.