Business Networking For Entrepreneurs – 10 Golden Rules

Greetings.

I came across this considered article by Mark Buchan, essentially
about the etiquette of business networking, and thought the
strategies could be nicely adapted for the online world where
internet marketers could do with some tips when venturing out into
the “real” world of seminars and the like!

Business Networking For Entrepreneurs – 10 Golden Rules to Maximise
Your Investment

By Mark Buchan

Here are my 10 golden rules for entrepreneurs who, like me, have
decided to engage in business to business networking.

Provide value: I call this “Pay it Forward” networking after the
motion picture of the same name, always seek to provide value to
another fellow networker before expecting value back from them. In
this way you will be remembered more, for all the right reasons, by
people who you have provided value for. People hate to be sold to so
avoid trying to sell yourself by saying “I can do that for you” or
“my company can do that for you”. Providing value at first will mean
giving without expecting a return. Do it for the joy of giving
rather than the expectation of receiving.

Be precise: You must know exactly what you are looking for by
attending a networking event. So precision in this circumstance
means: not just knowing your target market but more specifically who
in your target market you wish to speak to. Precision also means
being precise in your message and thus clearly communicating what
you and/or your business does.

Set goals: Whatever field you are involved in there is great value
in setting goals for yourself. Make sure you have a monthly goal of
how many networking events you wish to attend, how many authentic
connections you want to make. Note that I have not said how much
business you want to make. Whatever goal you set will be highly
dependant on other people and so in my world is an unrealistic goal
to set.

Prioritise your time: This is a must. Don’t mistake activity for
accomplishment when it comes to networking. A good thing to do here
is make sure that the events you attend either have people in your
target market or have people who have access to your target market.
Some people may become addicted networkers because they love being
around people and that is nice, but ultimately I treat networking as
a marketing tool that must deliver results. If it doesn’t then its
time to reprioritise my resources.

Measure your effectiveness: You need to know how effective your
networking efforts are so continuously monitor and measure your
success. This can then inform you as to what is working for you and
what is not. Don’t be afraid to call it a day on your activities
that don’t pay.

Be your own best advertisement: Ensure that you look and sound smart
by making a good first impression. Always be dressed for business,
as if you were meeting a customer. Avoid swearing or getting tipsy
as these behaviours may signal a lack of self control.

Show sincere interest in the other people: Rather than just “going
through the motions” become really interested in the person you are
speaking to. Start to build a picture of them, not as your customer
but a human being. What are their dreams, goals desires, where was
their last holiday, are they a sports fan if so which one, so on and
so on. Seek to build meaningful relationships that last for more
than just one meeting. Nobody will “buy you” in just one 10 minute
meeting although they will decide whether they like you or not. This
is why the next point is important…

Go for “small yeses”: Don’t attend a networking event thinking that
you will make a sale that day – that would be considered a “big
yes”. If you do achieve that goal, well done, but that is not the
point of the meeting. The first “small yes” is to make as an
authentic connection with someone. Once you have achieved that you
then go for the next “small yes” which is to have a reason to follow
up with them, most preferably this will be by providing them with
some value. Completing a series of these baby steps or small yeses
is a good way to build a relationship, but it does take time. So
manage your own expectations about what you can realistically expect
out of the events.

Mingle and move on: Everyone in a networking event has, or at least
should have, the same goal: making new connections. If you find
yourself talking to just one person, or the same person if you
attend a regular event ensure you change this behaviour and set a
goal for yourself to meet more people. This may sound contrived and
may strike you as a little engineered, but that is exactly what you
need to do to make the event successful for you.

Use your business cards wisely: I’m a great believer in keeping my
business card to myself, I will only hand it out to people who ask
for it. If I don’t know them I might reserve the right to even give
them my card. Often people go to networking events just to collect
cards for their database and to my mind that is a big no-no. I never
put peoples names on a marketing list unless I have their explicit
permission. I will only ask for someone else’s business card if I
have a reason to get back to them and I will make an obvious notes
on their card as for the reason to get back to them i.e. provide
them an article I have written or someone else’s number who they
should speak to – again providing value for them.

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Thanks Mark, definitely some food for thought.

For some business networking online, join these:

Sokule and KuleSpace.

Talk soon.

Chineme
http://internetmarketingviews.com

How to Get Prospects to Value Your Expertise

Greetings.

I came across a well considered piece by Allison Babb who gives some tips on your relationship with your prospects.  Here it is and I hope you find it useful too:

How to Get Prospects to Value Your Expertise

by Allison Babb on June 8, 2010

As small business owners, when we’re seeking the best ways for how to sell services, a key aspect is discovering how to position our expertise/products/services in such a way that it would display true value for our prospects.  And that true value would then turn those prospects into paying clients.

Here are 2 critical aspects of positioning your value and some misperceptions that may undermine that goal:

Speak to those who already value you

Every business owner I’ve worked with has had incredible talent with which they can create a lot of revenue.  However, they are often trying to sell to folks who just aren’t a match and those people simply don’t value what they offer.

So the key then, is to discover what type of person or business would be an ideal match for what you offer.   For example, one of my clients does social media marketing.  If she’s talking to a person who has zero interest in understanding Facebook or Twitter, it’s unlikely that person would value her expertise.  And her efforts would be futile to try to persuade that prospect to become interested.  In fact, I would suggest that person’s not even a prospect at all because they’re simply not a match for her expertise or services.

As business owners, we often make it very hard on ourselves, and there’s a lot of wasted effort in marketing and sales when we continue to beat down the doors of folks we must first persuade to value what we do before they are willing to look at what we offer.

So the goal here is to first define who YOUR ideal prospect is and be sure your efforts are being spent with folks who are truly a match for what you do.  This would be someone who already, at some level, appreciates the value of what you offer and they are in the place of simply being open to discovering who they would invest with in your area of expertise.  There are plenty of them out there, so why not go after that crowd instead.

Increase value by speaking their language

Often when we describe our products and services to prospects, we do it in our lingo and from our place of expertise.  We can get all caught up in talking about the technical aspects and features of what we do.

Instead, describe what you do using the words and phrases your clients use when they work with you.  For example, an interior designer isn’t really designing the look and feel of a room.  That’s not how a home-owner would describe that service.  More than likely, a home-owner wants to feel a certain way or to create a certain environment in a room.

Before you describe what you do, the key then, would be for you to ask enough questions to discover the true problem your prospects wants solved.  Or the burning desire they are seeking to fulfill.  This helps you to speak their language and convey what you do in a way they would readily understand and readily value.

Allison Babb Phillips is an author, speaker and Small Business Coach to solo entrepreneurs.  Allison publishes the “Small Business Success” weekly Ezine on how to create a steady stream of clients for your small business at: www.GreatSmallBusinessAdvice.com

Talk soon.

Chineme – http://internetmarketingviews.com