Networking! The phrase itself is self-explanatory. Increase the size of your “net” and you increase the number of “Fish” clients. By working.
The harder you work, the bigger your net. After all, more fish means more food.
Networking can and should be one of the most powerful sales tolls for any business, but it’s often neglected.
The number one rule of sales is that people buy from you if they first like and trust you. It is during networking that relationships are built. Like and trust is not built over the phone, via emails or one’s website. Humans still like to look into each other’s eyes, shake hands and feel the energy between one and other.
Like and trust in built through human interaction. Every company must schedule networking in their weekly or monthly plans.
Networking takes effort, networking takes time, needs planning, and it also exposes us to the real world and having to go out there talking to strangers, making small talk (doubly difficult if you are an introvert).
In my experience I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize on a few points which will make your networking as effective and productive as possible.
My advice to my clients is as follows:
1. Be Unique, think of an impactful way to introduce yourself and your business. Make it short, engaging, intriguing and entertaining. Don’t start by saying: Hi my name is… and I am an accountant, a lawyer, a financial advisor. The listener has heard it hundreds of times before and will never remember you and will often want to beat a hasty retreat. Be Unique.
2. Collect as many contact details as possible and commit to following up with them at a promised time. Make sure YOU DO. Most people never follow up. By doing as you promised, you will be sending a message that you deliver on your promises and that gives you credibility. Credibility in the marketplace is your lifeline and the air in the lungs of your business. Get in to the right habit of following up on your promises 24/7.
3. Make sure you stay relevant. Networking is a contact sport, don’t get too personal, don’t drop your professional guard, stay focused. You are there to do business and not to find friends. Remember friends don’t like paying friends. If you ever find the other party going off track bring the subject back to business, stay positive and no matter what… move on, NEXT.
4. Yes, move on. Sales is a numbers game. don’t fall into the trap of finding that one person you click with and spending the rest of the time with them. Just like sales, networking is a numbers game. The more people you connect with, the more people you will have appointments with and ultimately you will have the opportunity to do business with more people.
A little bonus for you, we are all nice people and don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. so if you ever get stuck with that one person who sticks with you and doesn’t let go…. Educate them about networking, tell them it’s not personal and irrespective of how much you are enjoying their company you are there to network and need to connect with as many people as possible. Excuse yourself and leave.
My favourite word in business? NEXT.