Archive for category Networking
By Johnathan Jones
It is not difficult to increase your sales by using networking events. Your first task is to find them, and they are generally advertised online and also offline in areas where they are due to be held. Once you have established that you are able to attend a specific networking event, you should plan for it, because without planning and preparation you will not get the maximum benefit from it.
Relationship building is one of the more valuable benefits from networking events, and if you can connect with the right people then you can not only increase your sales but build a better foundation for the future of your business. Here are some tips on how to use such events to get the maximum benefits of networking events and advantage from them.
“That’s the boy scouts marching song,” in the words of the great Tom Lehrer, and without proper preparation you will never get the maximum advantage from a networking event. Make sure you have business cards, even if yours is just an online business. You can print individual cards on these machines you find at airports, or invest in having a printer run off a few hundred for you.
You may not need them all, but at least you’re prepared. You won’t impress anybody if you try to print them yourself – unless you are very professional in doing so. You will not increase your sales by being unprofessional. Make sure you take a pen with you along with a small pad – you will hopefully have a number of contact names and numbers to make note of. It looks terrible if you have to borrow a pen!
Getting to Know You
“Getting to know all about you”, so the song from ‘The King and I’ goes. It’s not so much about whom you know but who knows you. You might know all the right people, but do the right people know you? If the important people in your field know you, then you are more likely to benefit than if you know them! It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.
So don’t attend networking events with the idea of meeting certain people. They might have no interest in you, and might not even be those who can help you to develop your business. Approach those that appear to be relevant to your field of interest.
What to Say
“Polite conversation is rarely either,” according to Fran Lebowitz, and this is very true at networking events. Trying to be polite by asking somebody who they work for could be a massive faux pas, so simply ask what service they provide. Do not enter into a conversation unless you feel that the other party could benefit your business – whether from a client or a vendor aspect.
A quick chat, exchange of cards or details, then goodbye – and on to the next person that catches your eye. Many people attending such events get caught up with individuals or groups, and fail to make the best of the event as a consequence. To increase your sales, you are best to keep on the move with an open eye for those that may benefit you or that you believe you could benefit – the two can be synonymous in respect of benefits to your business.
“After you’ve gone there’s no denying” that you should have a bunch of business cards and contact details. That’s the whole objective of networking events: to make contacts, seek potential clients and build a framework of trust for relationships and referrals in the future.
If you find potential contacts in your area, then email them later and suggest you meet up for coffee or something. Perhaps this is a contact that could be converted into a client, maybe a vendor that can save you money, or perhaps even a future partner in a joint venture – whichever of these you feel is appropriate, you still have to meet again after the networking event.
If you feel that the relationship could develop, then maybe invite them to some other event you know of in your area. If not, then at least keep their details so you can build up a good contact list. Who knows when they might be useful to you!
“…Now my destiny can begin” sings Fergie, and so can yours if you have met the right people and made the right contacts. If not, ‘don’t worry, be happy,’ because you will have many more networking events to attend and many more contacts to meet.
The whole ethos about networking events is, yes, to see what’s going on and what’s available, but mainly to make mutually beneficial contacts, to build up your contact list and some people even make lifelong friendships that benefit both. You are not there to try to sell your products – you are there to build bridges to enable you to do that.
“Maybe it’s hard to find the right people” – perhaps Ian Dury couldn’t, but you certainly can by attending these events with a view to learning and making contacts and not to sell, but to increase your sales through the contacts you make. You should also have fun when you are doing this, and you will be surprised how you can attract people to you: the right people. The people that can help you increase your sales and you can help them to achieve the same
By Brandon Byes
Networking is hard. No matter how many Internet articles say that “You too can become a networking master!” The bottom line is; networking is difficult and if done wrong can do more harm than good.
Networking is about building your brand, more than selling your service or product. Your brand is, at its core, you. When I started, I hated networking, but as I got better, I started to notice things that worked and things that didn’t. Here are the top 5 things that have worked for me, across many industries.
5. Sell Nothing But Yourself
Like I said, you are your brand. It doesn’t matter if you are a sales rep. or the owner, you represent the company. All networkers, especially the ones you really want to talk to, can smell a salesman a mile away, if you go right into your sales pitch, the conversation will end before it gets started.
A better way is to present yourself as what you are, a representative of a company that offers brings value to everyone he/she comes in contact with. That value may have nothing at all to do with your product or service at first.
4. Understand Social Capital
Just what is Social Capital? Social Capital is rarely discussed but often used. It is simply the social contract between people that states that you take care of the relationship between those people. Basically is means don’t be “that guy/girl” Every contact you have with every one you meet has to be taken care of just like you would take care of your money, because that relationship may in fact be money. Keep your promises, be willing to refer business and your Social bank account will be sitting pretty. *This is important, social capital is the linchpin of a good business relationship, but do not let it get in the way of asking for the business. Don’t be doormat, and if you are interested in the business, let it be known, but don’t let that be the only reason you are talking to him. More on that later though Asking for the business is an entirely different article, but I wanted to mention it.
3. Become a “Gate Keeper”
Meet as many people as possible seems like a given in the world of networking. But you would be surprised how many opportunities I have seen lost because someone didn’t have a need for a certain service or product themselves in the immediate future. As soon as you meet someone, if you have a need for what they offer or not, start building your social capital with them. Eventually, and this is an Insomniac Promise, you will have use for them. Picture this… you meet an insurance salesman at a networking event (and I promise…you will) you have no need for an insurance salesman at this time, so you take his card and throw it in the circular file at the office. Two weeks later you have a meeting with a client you have been working for months. He is still on the fence between you and a competitor. In passing conversation, he mentions that his daughter is learning to drive and he’s afraid to even look to see what that is going to do to his premiums. Crap. Not picture that you keep that insurance salesman’s card and had social capital with him. You stayed in touch and even met for coffee a few times, just to check in with him. You have learned he’s a good guy who goes above and beyond for his customers. Now go back to the client and his newly licensed daughter. When he mentions insurance premiums, you can say the words everyone loves to say and hear “oh…I got a guy” That just may be enough to swing a client in your favor and put you above the competition. * This is important though, before you pass a referral, you need to know exactly how your contact conducts business. You are leveraging your social capital and your brand on his service, so be sure you trust them.
2. When in doubt, ask questions about their business
A lot of people I talk to, say they hate networking because they never know what to say to people, or they are afraid of the dreaded “strange silence.” Here is a tip that I have used at every sales job I have ever had. When the conversation takes a dive, ask them questions about their business. People love to talk about themselves, and love to hear themselves talk…so its a win/win. Here are some example questions
•So what do you do?
•How did you get into that?
•What led you down that path?
•Is it fun?
Now be careful not to rattle off questions as it will feel more like an interrogation, and not a conversation. Let it flow, if you can master this…the prospect will leave with a good impression of you and you will have made a great contact by having a great conversation and you didn’t have to say anything! *This is important. You have to actively listen. Head nods and verbal listening signals will help with this. Do not just wait to ask another question or look around to see if there is someone more interesting to talk to. No matter how boring the prospect is, you must not let that show. Refer back to Tip number 3 if in doubt as to why. This leads me to the number 1 tip.
1. Be Genuine
Here’s a nifty concept. Actually wanting to help people and be of value to them shows. Listening to someone speak shows. Wanting to get to know people so you can be seen as a “gate keeper” shows. When networking, you are not selling your product, you are seeking relationships. Contacts don’t refer business, but relationships do. Keep this in mind when networking…you’re not as good of actor as you think you are. The fake interest shows through…take it from a pro. When you get to the point that you actually care about helping people and building social capital to strengthen relationships…that’s a nice point to be because at that point…your network is working for you, and not just the other way around.
By Tyler A Pratt
This past weekend a friend of mine threw this big party for his birthday. A ton of friends I knew showed up, and a lot of other people I did not know. As the party went on the people who I did not know, I began to introduce myself. Simple chit chat at first, but then by the end of the night I was talking with them like I had know them for years.
This is a simple relationship building we all do naturally on a daily basis. Meeting new people and trying to find things of interest is what makes parties fun.
If you’re trying to build a network marketing business then parties can be a great way to build new relationships, and then maybe you can bring that person into your business. This is the basis of relationship marketing. Parties are fun and highly social environments that give us the opportunity to meet new people.
If for example you have a product your selling like cookware, or kitchen utilities. The best way for you to sell your products is to have a cooking party. Invite friends over to your house, give them snacks, serve a few drinks, and just have fun. Spend a few hours teaching your friends how to cook different meals using the same products you are trying to sell. Since everyone loves a good party, why not learn at the same time. People are always relaxed after a few hours of having fun, learning and just hanging out with friends. Once the party is closing down, tell your friends they can purchase the same cooking materials used in creating these meals. You would be surprise at how many will jump all over the opportunity to get the products.
There is a local store that sells high-end kitchen oven equipment. Very expensive and the stores sells a ton of these. The whole store looks like one big classroom with many ovens and counters for cutting up food. You can book this place with your friends and learn about cooking. A top chef in the area is the teacher and shows you ways to cook food just like all the high-end restaurants. When your done with the class your offered to buy one of the high-end ovens. When I took the class I did not purchase one, but there were some of my friends that did buy one.
These are just a few example of how companies or people sell their products. They use parties and teaching classes to relax people, give them how to’s, and then ask for the sale.
Your network marketing company and the products they are offer can be sold in the same way. Find a way to educated your customers with a relaxed party and then ask them to buy your products, or join the opportunity