Being in business means making a connection with your target market, then strengthening that connection over time. Almost everything you say or do can change the strength of the connection, and in this series of posts we’ll focus on the activities you perform to widen your base. Some people call that “networking”, but it’s far more than that.
In this first post we’ll cover the different kinds of activities, then they will be covered in a little more detail in the posts that follow.
You can meet people face to face. This usually means going to an event where you are likely to meet people who need what you sell. It doesn’t mean trying to sell them at the meeting though. Well, certainly not during the first conversation.
You can meet new people by telephone. This just means that instead of attending a function in person that you can call people who you have identified that are likely to be interested in what you sell. The important feature here is they they must be likely to be interested and your script has to be written from their perspective, not yours. That just means that your intent is probably to make a sale, and taking a few seconds more to get there is probably better than being quick but missing out.
The current favourite/favorite is of course via the internet. Interestingly enough the basic rules don’t change. You first need to make a connection, allow them to discover your expertise, then make an offer. What has changed is the geographic reach and the presence of trolls if you say something that someone might consider inappropriate. An example of this is a recent post on a business page I’m a member of was considered to be an advert by some, and they were quick to point out that overt adverts were not allowed in that arena.
Whatever you do to meet new people there are some things that you must do first. One is to prepare your opening statement. Remember that it is designed to make a connection not a sale, and you want to get them talking about themselves so you can ascertain if you can help them, and if so how. That information is useful in leading to a sale.
You will need different “conversation starters”, and be practised in their delivery because you can’t sell somebody something unless you are first in a conversation with them. (OK, normal retail stores are an exception to this rule!)
You need to know the stages of the journey you want to take your new friend through. Connection, identify with, fact finding, and solution for example. That will be easier if you understand how people communicate. (It’s OK, probably 90% of people don’t really know how people communicate. For example most people think others communicate “Like I do”.)
We’ll cover the different communication styles later, for now we’ll focus on different networking activities you might take part in. See you in the next post.