As a micro business owner, you need to embrace the power of networking and use it as a tool to drive sales.
That’s because, with the right approach, networking is an incredibly effective way to grow your business and let the world know you’re here.. And here to stay!
Networking is essential…
Some business owners discount networking. Perhaps they don’t enjoy it, become filled with dread at the though of delivering their elevator pitch or feel it’s not “right” for their business.
In addition you have a website, you publish a regular blog and you’re active on social media. You advertise in the local papers, you issue press releases to get your message into the local media and have a marketing strategy. Why do you need to network too?
For sure all these things are really important…
BUT, actually getting out there and meeting people face-to-face is fundamental to the success of your marketing plan and generating the sales you need to grow your business.
In fact, you’ll be surprised at the results you can generate if you join, and actively participate in, the right group for your business.
Is there a secret to networking success?
Yes there is.
And I’m going to share it with you…
The secret to generating sales through networking is to sell without selling.
Keep reading and I’ll explain what I mean.
You see I network avidly. I also run networking groups and I’ve achieved a lot of business and personal success through them.
When I network I have a moto, and I share it will my groups…
“Network because you want to meet like-minded people who are passionate about their businesses and tenacious in driving on-going development through networking and collaboration”
OK it’s a bit of a mouthful so let’s dissect it to be sure we’re clear on what it actually means…
As a micro business, networking and word of mouth referals are vital to your success. That’s because if people don’t know you exist, how will you survive?
And effective networking hinges on exactly that principle. It’s all about word of mouth and referrals. And the best way to generate those referrals is to meet likeminded people who you make a connection with and who like you.
What’s more, if you can actively position yourself amongst other people who are passionate about their business and tenacious in their own business development, they are likely to have a similar mindset. They too understand that the only way they can grow their business is by “networking” and “collaborating” with like-minded people who are willing to help them “sell through the room”.
So you can see networking is about building partnerships of mutual trust and respect where you actively help and look out for each other. Can you see just how powerful that can be…
Don’t make these mistakes when networking
Networking is all about mind set and approach…
You don’t actually sell through networking. Instead you network to meet liked minded people, get to know them, trust them and work with them. In turn they become an extension of your sales force – and that is how you sell through networking.
1. “How much is that person worth to me?”
You have to lose sight of the price tag. Never look at your network and think about who you can sell to. Instead, think about how many people your network knows and how they can refer you on. Remember. It’s all about referrals and selling through the room.
2. “My business isn’t compatible with anyone else’s in this room”.
OK so you may be right, but you’re forgetting about the 6 degrees of separation principle. This refers to the idea that everyone is, on average, approximately six steps away (by way of introduction) from any other person on Earth. What this means is a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made allowing you to connect with another person in six steps or fewer. So the real question is, who can your networking group help you connect up with?
3. “It’s not important – I’ll blag it”.
Most networking groups allow you to do a 1-minute pitch about your business to the rest of the group. This introduction is really important as it helps lay the foundations to what happens in the rest of your meeting. Never blag your pitch and never use it as a platform to sell. Instead use it as a teaser. Let others know how you can help and outline how your business can benefit them. Make it snappy and interesting, and if the thought of presenting to a group of people throws you into a cold sweat PRACTICE. Your pitch will influence who approaches you, and also lay down those all important first impressions.
4. It’s all about me, me, me!
I’ve seen it happen! People go to a networking meeting, move about the room and broadcast their sales message and wonder why they don’t get anything out of it. I suggest you take an alternative approach. Instead of talking, listen. Ask questions, find out about the other people in your group and actively hone in on who you can help and who you think you could collaborate with.
5. “I can’t be bothered to go this morning”.
Selling though networking only works when you’ve allowed people to know, like and trust you. That takes patience and commitment to your chosen group. It’s not enough to turn up once and try to clinch a deal. Instead you have to become a regular member, an active participant and play the game. Instead of focusing on what’s in it for you, think about how you can add value and help the other people in your network.
6. Assume people know
In order to sell through the room, you need to ensure the other members of your networking group know who you are, what you do and most importantly the type of clients and introductions you are looking for. That means you must engage in 2-way conversations where you share this information. Remember not to broadcast. Be interesting, share anecdotes and stimulate discussion.
7. “See you next time…”
Business is all about people and building relationships with key people, influencers and clients. The really smart networkers understand this and don’t stop at the face-to-face meetings. Instead they continue discussions online through social media, and stay in contact with the key people in their network.
I love networking but what about you. What are your top tips? What mistakes do you think need to be avoided? Let me know in the comments below.
Actively initiate the power of selling through networking…
- First Identify your core referral partners – write down their names.
- Next have a conversation to check they know about your business and the type of clients you’re seeking.
- Finally get specific. Ask them to think about their own extended network and identify who they can refer you to. Ask them to set up an introduction, invite them to your next networking group or refer directly through a word of mouth testimonial.