Whatever type of business you are in today, networking is a skill you must develop.
Yup, sorry – for all the shrinking violets out there (and I count myself as one) there is no avoiding the need to meet new contacts. Even if you run an entirely online business and you think that all you have to do is to market through Facebook or some other social media, you will still find that you need to move around people, whether you are marketing at a live event and then meeting people afterwards or if you are meeting people via the screen.
As for any bricks and mortar business, whether you are in retail, hospitality, professional services, construction or anything else – in order to expand the pool of people you can market to, in order to attract that top level of interest that you can introduce into your sales funnel and qualify and attract to your business, you will need to network in some form or other.
However, as a self-declared introvert, I can tell you the good news is that networking is a learned art. You don’t need a large personality – you just need a system.
And here it is!
Watch this video lesson on the art of networking.
Remember, networking is not just handing out business cards and trying to make small talk. That way lies defeat, frustration and embarrassment.
You need to be prepared. Make sure you have your elevator speech rehearsed. This has to take the newly introduced contact from what you solve, to your uniqueness, to a call to action within 3 or 4 minutes, allowing you to then have a meaningful discussion.
Always have a number of calls to action ready, depending on the circumstances, from “why don’t you come and see my shop, tomorrow, here’s a discount voucher” to “how about a coffee tomorrow so I can understand better the problem you are facing” to “can I send you a brochure and then give you a call?” They don’t have to be a call to action to buy something, after all, you’ve only just met!
The formula is to cast your net widely – not forgetting LinkedIn and other social media as well as attending all kinds of live events. Provide your elevator speech and seek to have a meaningful discussion. Then make sure you follow up, proactively seek to meet again rather than hope they’ll call or that you’ll bump into them again. Plan to give something back – a useful article on their problem, or a contact or opportunity that they will find useful. The whole idea of networking is to meet people and to build trust and a relationship.
I’ve given you a link to a video on how to prepare your elevator speech above but my website teikoh.com has plenty of other video lessons on marketing and networking. I’m sure you’ll find my video lessons, training and resources useful, so see you there!