How can you market to everyone?
We cannot market to everyone unless we have unlimited time, money, and energy. Decide who to target. Identifying your niche and describing their recognizable characteristics is the first important step to prevent wasting time with people who cannot help you in obtaining new clients. Identify your niche by reflecting on your ideal clients or perhaps even just one special client. Your ideal client is the person who is most likely to buy from you, and whom you most want to serve. They are the people who:
- Believe you can help them to achieve their goals
- Are willing to pay your fee to get that outcome
- Are passionate about their product or service
- Accept responsibility for their own success
- Are ready to identify their best strategies
- Embrace their spiritual side
Here’s what my clients expect from me:
- Direct talk, with no time-wasting chatter
- My undivided attention and support
- My strategic and creative resources
- Proven strategies to get more clients
- And lots more, but let’s move on…
When you are networking, offer to send a report or article that is of interest to people you meet. As an expert, you need to be able to share information with people.
Bringing a world of information
Inquire about their ideal clients and offer to send them an introduction to a prospect. Think of ways to help them on the spot. Let them know right away if you know someone you think they might like to meet. Make introductions to potential new customers, referral partners, or resources when you identify a good match. Be sure to reconnect if you think of someone later that they might like to meet.
Give them a follow-up call within a few days to inquire how they are doing. This is a good time to ask if there is anything you can do to assist them. Demonstrate fabulous qualities of a productive networker and show outstanding professionalism.
Be Authentic and Develop Alliance Partners
Have you ever attended networking events and observed people who are just distributing and collecting business cards? They are the ones who are not developing relationships.
Marketing coaches believe that networking is not a numbers game of how many people you can meet. It is a search for those perfect people who will complement your marketing efforts by giving you referrals or perhaps becoming a client. While networking, be sure to focus on the other person. Your communication should be about them. Once you establish a genuine interest in them and they feel comfortable with you, they will reciprocate and want to know more about you. You are on your way to creating an alliance and building partnerships.
Take the quiz on MarinerCo.com to learn what needs to happen in your business to be more successful.
Listening pays off
As the saying goes…“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Active listening alone will set you apart from everyone else and make you remarkable. Ask a question and then ask the next logical question based on his/her answer (this is the active part of listening). You can literally continue to ask questions.
Find common ground and interests you might share as well as identify them as a potential resource for your alliance partners to refer out to others. Jot down notes on their business card or a note pad so you can recall your conversation at a later date, if needed.
People enter into relationships, work with, and refer other people to those they enjoy and have come to “know, like, and trust.” Make it a goal to learn something new about everyone each time you see them and avoid self-serving, me-centered conversations (you know… the ones where you are talking about yourself without being asked for the information).
Show interest. Ask questions
Networking is more than face time at meetings. It’s about really getting to know others. Just showing up and passing out cards isn’t enough. You need to spend some time getting to know other people, learning about their businesses, and understanding how (and when) to refer to them, just as you are hoping they will send referrals your way.
Start a conversation with anyone and everyone. Learn how to ask questions and discuss topics that have nothing to do with your business. Establish a common interest and develop a relationship. Keep asking questions until you find something in common. To be likeable, first and foremost, you must be friendly. As simple as that sounds, friendliness is not the norm. Being friendly requires time, attention, and mental focus.
Remember, many people at networking events do not know how to network. They may brush you off because they really don’t know that you have a large network and can give them referrals. Therefore, it is important to find out as much about them as you can. Then you can inform them of people and situations in your life experiences that can help them. Offer to send them an article or a link to a website that might be of interest to them. Ask who they would like to meet. Introduce them or send the information when you follow-up. Be a good resource.
Be very clear about what you do and offer. Make it short so it sticks. It is impossible to remember a long description. Make certain that you stand out with a creative description.
Stand out in with a sticky introduction
There are many mistakes people make in a 30-second commercial. A few of these are to say a title, a consultant, or what you sell. But the biggest mistakes are to say, “It is hard to explain.” or “How much time do you have?” Several years ago while networking, that is the response someone gave me when I asked him what he did. He then proceeded to give me a big packet of information to read so I could understand what he did. I had just met him. Why would I spend time reading a packet of information? Then I had to carry around that packet all morning. Did I ever read that information packet? You know the answer.
Just as the title suggests, we have only 30 seconds to elicit a response. You want to be appropriate, credible, intriguing, specific, and very brief (under 3.5 seconds). Not really 30 seconds but it is best said in seven words or less. Sell the benefits of what you do, not the features or process. The goal is to spark a subconscious interest in the other person so they will ask: “How do you do that?”
What is your sticky elevator pitch?
Not every person you meet is a prospect but nearly every person you meet can be a valuable part of your network. While networking, connect with more than just your prospects. You are seeking referral partners, potential alliance partners, and perhaps even peers or colleagues that are potential partners on large projects. Try to meet business owners for referring to prospects that are not a good fit for you. Identify your niche and clearly describe them so people can refer to you. Carefully choose where you spend your time. If you are not getting referrals or clients from your networking, then it is time to identify your niche and where you can find them. Also, identify the people who would be strong alliances in your field and seek them out. Those are the people who will refer clients to you and possibly partner at events with you. The most valuable person in your network is not the person who buys from you; it is the person who refers to you.
Be happy to meet everyone
First impressions are worth a thousand words. Your impression determines how you are perceived as a successful business professional. It also determines if someone will build a relationship with you.
Be intentional about what you are communicating non-verbally. Pay particular attention to dressing professionally and acting that way, too. Practice self-awareness and monitor your body language and facial expressions. That’s where the mirror comes into play. Positive facial expressions and body language are contagious and attractive. Avoid crossing your arms, frowning, scowling, and using other negative facial expressions. Recently, I toured the Denver Art Museum. It was quite obvious which kids were not enjoying themselves by the scowl on their faces. Make sure you are projecting the right image.
Maintain an open posture and upbeat expression. Watch your body positioning and never close the circle. This means, always keep an open spot for others to join your conversation. If you are speaking to just one person, stand in front of them at an angle so there is a space to welcome someone else into your conversation.
When you meet just one potential alliance partner at an event, you hit the jackpot. A great networking event is Creative Connections on MeetUp. We meet on the first Friday of every month at the Innovation Pavilion in Centennial, CO. If you are in a creative industry, please come and meet other creatives. Network your way to success. Here’s another tip:
Set a goal for the event
It is so much easier to just hang out with people you know. However, the more connections you make, the more potential opportunities you have to develop future business transactions. When you set a goal of how many business owners you want to meet, you have an incentive to circulate and meet as many people as possible. Remember this is not a time for selling. This is an opportunity to plant some seeds and learn how you can help people you encounter. It is a time to offer to help introduce them to someone they want to meet or send them a helpful article.
Networking is one of the best strategies for meeting future clients, prospects, alliance partners, and new friends. Marketing Coach Carol Naff uses the most effective and up-to-date networking techniques to help you reach your marketing goals.
It is well-known that many people do not like to network. Many people think it is a waste of time because they are not achieving the results they want. Therefore, it is important to learn the most effective techniques of networking so mutual relationships are created to benefit both sides in growing and prospering in business.
As Carol’s client, Anne Randolph, said, “Networking is now fun and so much more effective when I apply the techniques Carol taught me.” You can learn how to make the most of every networking event if you use these tips. These powerful tips will raise your level of success and assure productive use of your time in building business partners through networking. A new tip will be published each week here on my blog and will be sent in Carol’s Business Building Tips enews. Register at Marinerco.com to receive the enews.
Learn the difference between networking and selling
Networking is not sales. Networking is meeting people to develop relationships that may lead to future clients, alliance partners, or new friends. Sales tactics come in when you’ve established a need for your services or products. A networking event is never a place for sales. As a matter of fact, people are going to avoid you if you sell at a networking event. When someone expresses an interest, offer to send them an article or set an appointment to meet with them. An exception to selling at events is where businesses have booths and are selling products and services. The participants came there to learn about the products and services being offered. If you have a booth, be sure to collect names and contact information so you can follow-up with them. Remember it takes 7-12 touches to make a sale. These are not networking events; they are trade shows.
Strategy: Send a quick enewsletter to people you meet to stay in touch. Constant Contact is very reliable and a good resource. In addition, as a Constant Contact Certified Expert, I’ll help you set up your template to get started quickly. Use this link to get started at Constant Contact.