So, you’re going off to your networking groups, and perhaps feeling a little more confident with your introductions, but you’re not seeing the results you want from networking, i.e. more sales and customers.
Perhaps you’re missing a couple of key ingredients. Referrals & Follow Ups.
There is no overnight success to networking, you need to commit to it for the longer term. Going regularly for a long period of time, will get you well known within the group for your brand, and by building up strong relationships, you’ll soon become the trusted go to person.
This does not mean, go with the sole mission of sell, sell, sell or repeating sales patter each month to everyone you meet, and going home to wait for the phone to ring, and the sales to come flooding. It doesn’t work like that.
You are there to build relationships, to learn as much as you can about the other people that attend, to get to know them truly, and if you feel happy to grow a base of real friendships who are keen to support one another.
As you begin to build these kinds of relationships, and don’t get me wrong, some of you may prefer to keep a line between business and friendship, this is entirely up to you, but a mutual respect is important.
Keep a few notes for each person you meet about hobbies, and needs. Who else do you know that could help them with something that you can’t? For example, they may have pets and be going away. Do you know a cattery owner in another group who you could pass on their card? Ask them to just let the cattery owner know that it was you that passed on their number.
You have just made two people’s days! They will remember that, and the more you can find opportunities like this for others, it won’t be long before they are thinking of you to pass on your details to their friends in need of your services.
Keep numbers in your mobile with notes on each person. If you don’t have a card handy, pass on their mobile, or send the other person a text to let them know you have a referral for them.
Networking is not just about those people in the room, it’s often about who they know, and their circles. Don’t be put off if the person you are chatting to doesn’t seem to need your products or services, I’m sure they have an uncle, or aunt, or friend who does. By building up a relationship, you may find ways to help each other, so still keep an eye out for opportunities to refer their services to other people.
As someone does their introduction, you can be thinking of people you may know that could do with whatever they have to offer. Imagine how much business would be done if everyone in a networking group thought in this way?
It’s worth keeping a log of everyone you meet at networking, and sending a follow up text or email (not generic) to them when you get home.
Do always connect with people on social media when they get home, you could always ask their preference, do they prefer linked in, Facebook or twitter etc? Don’t start selling, but just pop them a message to say it was great meeting them.
Hi Kelly, it’s Tarryn. Great to meet you today! I will keep hold of your details and have a think of people who would love your products. Have a great week.
Hi Sam, Good to meet you today. I loved your introduction. You mentioned you’re away next week, have a fab time, I will look forward to see you next month! Warm Wishes Tarryn
You see how there is no selling there at all? These people will think of you with a smile, and next time you meet, you have broken the ice too.
Another great tip if you are connected on Facebook, is to send a private message on their birthday. (Again, no intention of selling) just to genuinely wish them a happy birthday. (Everyone else will write on their wall, but they will remember that you took the time to send a message) Again, they will remember you with a smile!
Always try to remember something about them, their own lifestyle, or hobbies etc., or something they are trying to learn about perhaps. Imagine if you could send them a useful blog or video that you saw online that would help them, and if you send it to them, they would be thrilled, and remember your support. Importantly, particularly in the early days, this should not be your product or service, but perhaps a free advice blog or useful resource from someone independent.
Send a resource that is relevant to the conversation that you had, or in a follow up email, refer to something they were talking about, or pay a compliment. (I loved your dress, where did you get it from?) Follow up emails should never be generic, or ‘salesy’ I always like to ask questions about them and their business, or request a brochure. If I don’t think I need their services straight away, I might say to them in an email that I will have a think of people that I could send their way.
People don’t like to be sold to all the time, so you are showing them that you are different to the others, you are helpful and thoughtful, and genuinely interested in them. This is key to building trust and rapport with them. Look out for similarities in hobbies etc. to pick up on in conversation.
Over time you will feel much more comfortable recommending a product or service to them, or they are much more likely to ask you now, and you won’t have to feel pushy or robotic!
Do Coffee! – Suggest that you have a coffee together sometime to swap business contacts or find out more about each other’s business. Book an hour in your diaries, and do 20 min each on your businesses and then chat for the other 20 minutes. It’s amazing how much you will learn about each other during that time that you would never have known through networking meetings alone.
I hope that these tips will help you to take your networking further. If you need any more tips or support, please do feel free to email me to book a coaching session, as there is so much more to networking that meets the eye! Networking Works! The fortune is in the follow up!
So, until next time,
With Fond Wishes