One of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolkit is networking. It’s a way to meet people who may be future clients – and, more importantly, know lots of people who may need your services.
So – you’re attending networking meetings, but are you getting the best possible results?
Here are my top tips for making networking work even better.
1: Educate your network
In a 45 second pitch (or even a minute or more) it’s really difficult to get over all the detail of what you can do for potential customers. That means that a little planning goes a long way.
Make a list of all the things you do to help people – add the benefits (what’s in it for me?) and over the forthcoming meetings, choose a different subject and explain who it helps, how it helps and what the benefits are.
Over time people will have a much better understanding of everything you do – not only the obvious things.
2: Tell stories
People remember stories better than dry data. What you do comes to life when you tell a story about your products or services in action. If you have to protect your clients’ identities, change the names, but a good case study (a story by another name) is worth its weight in gold.
If you haven’t got the storytelling gene, try this formula:
Your name, your company …
You know how people have a problem with … [a common problem you solve for your clients]?
Well, what we do is [how you help people, your strategy that provides the solution they need], so that they [outline the results that your customers get – ideally in measurable terms].
So if you know anyone who suffer from [repeat problem] you know who to call.
3: Get to know individuals better
Chatting over the coffee urn (even if it’s virtual) and listening to the 45 second pitches is only the tip of the iceberg. In order to be able to refer people with confidence, you need to get to know them.
The best way to do this is with a 1-2-1 – or in some cases a 1-2-2 where there is a synergy between three people with a common audience (e.g. a builder, a plumber and an electrician or a web developer, an SEO specialist and a graphic designer).
Getting to know the human being behind the company is how trust is built and you will always refer people you feel comfortable with, rather than those you only have a surface knowledge of. People buy people, not organisations.