Having just come from another Networking Lunch where I had bumped in to a couple of Colleagues who I saw at a different event the week before I was asked, "Why do I bother going to all these different events?" I am known as a bit of a serial networker and the reason is simple; its proven to continually generate business for me over many years. As I see it there are ten reasons why we should all get out there and speak to each other:
- People like to help each other out. Networking events are full of Business owners who have problems or issues within their business that they need help to solve. If you know the person that can help then it feels great to help them overcome their problem.
- Try to earn a referral not a lead. When someone mentions a contact that you want to get hold of don’t just ask for their number, ask your new friend if they could introduce you. You are far more likely to build a relationship and win business if you have come in as a referral.
- Be open to working collaboratively. If you are able to bundle your product or services with a likeminded business, you will not only benefit from their customers but also have a more attractive proposition to new customers. I say this hand on heart, after all not only do we generate most of our business by working with others, Cobalt was built through Ian and I meeting at a networking event years ago.
- People go out networking with their guard down. A business owner is going to talk to you at a Networking event while if you knock on the door of their business you are more often than not going to be turned away.
- Never dismiss the person in front of you. You are not just selling to the person you are talking to but also all of their business contacts. My biggest order came from an Office Cleaner who just happened to bump in to the MD of a multinational when he was cleaning their Office!
- Regular contact builds relationships. Most of us have products that our customers don’t buy every day. While the people in the room may not need you now they will need you at some point and if you have a relationship with them then they will naturally come to you first.
- Smile! Nobody wants to talk to you if you don’t look friendly and approachable. Leave your troubles at the door and focus on being in the room.
- If you are referred in to a new potential client, they are far more likely to do business with you if they have been referred to you from a trusted existing contact. You will probably not find yourself in a price battle and will also be able to maintain a healthy margin.
- You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Keep this is mind. Finding the right contacts and networks doesn’t happen overnight. It is a bit of a long haul – you may get lucky first time, but usually it’s a case of reaping the rewards once you’ve put in the effort.
- Remember - 80% of Sales are won by 8% of the Salespeople and like it or not if you run a business you are a Salesperson. The key to winning business is to give yourself an edge. Business Networking allows you to access new customers and avoid the Sales process. You will already have a leg up on the competition as you are already a tried and trusted associate.