Without huge budgets to spend on marketing, many small businesses, sole proprietors and sales pros turn to networking as their sole (or largest) investment in marketing.
They rely on it for building leads, setting appointments and generating sales.
They hit up every networking breakfast, social, lunch, leads group, etc. hoping to shake as many hands as possible, find interested parties and HOPEFULLY be able to generate a sale.
Why people get discouraged
Some people are forced into networking by their sales manager or business owner and are never given the proper training, tools or guidance to be successful.
Networking at the events is just the START.
You have to be able to CONVERT contacts into appointments and customers.
This is where many people fail:
They shake hands, collect a few cards, try to sell their stuff and if that doesn’t work, then move on the next event. Then they get discouraged because the phone isn’t ringing and profits sag.
It’s not their fault, they just haven’t been taught how to do this well – how to get results from all of this networking. I’m going to show you how to change that right now.
35,000+ contacts and millions in sales
What qualifies me to be able to show you reasons most networking fails.
I have amassed a database of 35,000+ contacts and customers and have helped my company and our clients to create millions in new sales from it.
Chambers, associations and even large companies bring me in to teach their people how to do it well.
When done properly, networking can be a huge source of qualified leads that can be converted into customers.
I’ve pinpointed the secret sauce that can help you make networking highly profitable:
#1 – Stop Selling at Networking Events
When you go to networking events are you going there to BUY stuff?
No one else is either, so stop trying to sell people stuff at the event.
How do you like when people just try to hard sell you stuff right off the bat?
No one else likes it either so don’t do it.
Also leave your fliers at home.
No one wants to walk around with it at the event.
They aren’t reading it anyway and it goes straight in the trash. Save yourself the money and leave them at home.
#2 – Don’t treat people like targets, treat them like PEOPLE
A common mistake I see people make is going to events (or sending their salesperson) and acting like you have a room full of targets, prospects and potential sales.
They commonly see people as numbers – and people see that IMMEDIATELY and run away.
What you have is room full of PEOPLE.
People with families, businesses, pets, children, parents, friends and partners.
They also have bills, plans and dreams.
They are dealing with issues – some more serious than others.
They also want to be happy – and are willing to devote time listening to someone they find interesting – and may have solutions to help them do one of two things:
- Create pleasure in their business or life
- or cure a pain in the business or life.
These are the only two reasons people buy ANYTHING.
It’s ALL about them
Don’t you love people that actually seem interested in what you have to say?
Don’t you also hate people that don’t seem interested at all?
Ask people you meet, questions about them.
One big reason I am so successful at networking and converting is because I truly love learning about people –
- What they love, what they hate.
- What they do in their business.
- How they do it.
- What they do for fun?
- Learning about their pets and family
Through our conversation we ALWAYS find out things we may have in common.
It can be sports, pets, hobbies, business practices, whatever – it gives me and my new friend something to connect with and discuss BESIDES just talking business.
That’s building relationships and rapport at the highest level of networking – a Rockstar level skill you need to hone.
We ALWAYS get around to pains they are having in the business.
Since they know I care and am interested in them, they always open up about issues they might be having.
This always leads to discussion of ideas that could maybe help them – and 9 times out of 10 leads to scheduling a call or cup of coffee to talk more! Ding, ding, ding – WINNER!
#3 – You don’t Follow Up
Without question this is where 95% of people fall short.
How many stacks of business cards do you have sitting on your desk, in your drawers or in your car that you never got around to following up with?
That’s opportunity lost.
Follow up is the genesis of opportunity
Meeting someone new and getting their card is the easy part, but it’s just the first step.
Turning that into an appointment and a customer is where the magic needs to happen.
Many people ONLY follow up with the ringers – those people that said, “YES I want to buy your stuff!”
Well that’s easy, but what about the other 99% of people you met?
Here are some briefs about the who, what and when of converting the OTHER 99% of people you meet:
Who do you follow up with?
Even if the person you meet is not a “potential customer”, they know people, have family, coworkers, employees and friends that may need your stuff.
It is so easy to dismiss people and throw their card in the trash.
But that’s a HUGE mistake!
I’ve gotten BIG DEALS from referrals of people I just met and took time to follow up with.
Days fly by quickly don’t they?
It’s easy to let a week zoom past you without following up.
That turns into a month then people feel silly emailing or calling someone to follow up feeling like it has been too long. Ever been there? So has everyone else.
It is imperative to follow up with people quickly normally within 24-48 hours.
So you know who to follow up with and when, now what in the world do you say?
Remember, it’s not about you.
If the first email you send is a sales email, game over, do not pass go and opportunity lost.
The first contact needs to be all about them.
Warm, inviting, not salesy. Here is one typical script I use for many business owners and sales people I meet:
“Hello (first name),
It was a pleasure meeting you and learning about your business.
I always enjoy meeting people that have great solutions that could possibly help me and my vast customer list.
I would like to learn more about your services, who you help and who you are looking to meet.
I have quite a few contacts so maybe I can lead you to some new people.
What day in the next week is best for you for a call? Morning or afternoon?
I look forward to speaking with you again.
Why does this work well? It’s not about YOU.
It’s ALL about them. Wouldn’t YOU reply to this if someone sent it to you?
You are offering a hand in helping them, you show interest in THEM.
You know on that call, since you are showing interest in them – they are going to ASK YOU MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO.
At that time STILL don’t be salesy, but tell them some wonderful things you have done to help people.
Go try these simple steps
With what I’ve given you here today, you can see better results from all of the networking you do.
Be personal, be yourself, be warm and inviting.
It’s not about you, it’s all about them.
Follow up, create opportunity and start turning more Contacts in Customers today!
If you really found this valuable and want to dive in deeper with me, I have a brand new course that is coming out really soon. If you want to be one of the very first people to hear about it, make sure to get on my early interest list.
Click here to get on the early interest list.