Monthly Archives: July 2010
Not surprising because:
- Networking is seen in this current financial climate as low or no-cost marketing.
- Networking is seen as the opposite to hard-sell and cold-calling.
- Networking is seen as a ‘social’, more comfortable or easier way to gain customers, without having to sell or be sold to.
But there’s a problem with that:
- Networking isn’t cheap.
- Without skill, networking is random and produces random results.
- Without a clear strategy and the skills to back it up, networking produces a lame bit of PR of questionable value.
But this only gives a small fragment of the picture. Let’s zoom-out:
You arrive at a networking event having done no real preparation. You don’t know who’s going to be there, but you hope that Fred, who you met last time, will show up because he seemed like a nice guy who might be interested in your services.
You walk into the room, which is full to bursting. Who do you talk to? Who do you recognise? What are you going to say? Who is going to bore you to death with their interminable monologue about what they do?
You spot another accountant – ‘He’s from that other firm. No, hang on, there’s another one, and another, oh, and another. That’s four other accountants’. You think, ‘Well, if I’d know they were going to be represented in force, I wouldn’t have bothered coming’.
But you soldier on …
And it doesn’t end there:
More mature professionals are often quite comfortable socialising: enjoy it, even.
But the rules have ALL changed.
My father was a Rotarian for forty four years. He would have shuddered at the thought of ‘selling’ to his club colleagues, and yet, in his day, THEY ALL BOUGHT FROM EACH OTHER. The loyalty was staggering.
Networking is, to put it politely, a free-for-all. (Virtually) anyone can turn up, and sometimes the competition is fierce!
Standing out is the first hurdle:
What every networker wants to ensure is that they get noticed and remembered. And if you are just one of twenty seven grey suits, how can you make that happen?
How can you leave the meeting having made a lasting impression? How can you ensure that amongst the crowd, when they think, ‘Oh, there’s that great accountant I met’, yours will be the name that springs to mind?
Your name and the name of your business need to be front of mind when people think ‘accountant’; just like everyone chants McDonalds, when they think fast food or burgers.
So how can you and your business achieve this pole position?
It’s all about Influence
We used to call it ‘selling’. Now, we’re more sophisticated and we call it ‘influencing’.
Building profitable relationships in business is down to one thing: your ability to influence the other person or people. It always has been. It’s just that now, the psychology around it has changed.
We need a consistent System
These are the stages of the process. When you get them right, profits flow as a consequence: when you get them wrong, there’s often a great deal of disappointment and a dent to the bank balance.
- Entering the room
- Shaking hands
- What to talk about
- What to say
- How to listen
- How to identify who has potential to buy or refer
- How to get into rapport – with just about anyone
- How to match the conversational style and needs of the other person
- How to influence without overtly selling
- How to identify those people with whom a profitable relationship is most likely to be built
- How to avoid the seven cardinal sins of networking
- Understanding the rules of the game and checking that they do, too!
Which brings me to the best kept secret of face-to-face networking:
Online follow-up: the way to multiply results and make more money
Exactly how and when you follow up your initial meeting is crucial. Your follow-up email or phone call can make or break the relationship.
Send them a salesy email and they’ll hate you for it. Offer to help or ask a great question and they’ll pay much more attention and like you more for it.
Many one-to-ones are a waste of time, because if you have them with the wrong people, they can result in both parties going nowhere – fast.
Qualifying and then testing the other person are essential, and to do this right usually takes an inordinate amount of emotional intelligence and understanding of human behaviour.
After reading all of this, you may be thinking, ‘How does anyone ever get any results from networking?’ And it’s a good question. The truth is that the 80/20 rule still applies. Only 20% of networkers get 80% of the success.
In order to be one of the 5% or 2% that gets the very best results of all, it’s the systematized, consistent and comprehensive approach that will get the outcome. It’s knowing what to do and understanding how to do it that makes the difference. And that is what we teach people to do.
QJ The Inspirationist® – the best psychological tools to get what you want!
We’ve just completed an interesting bit of market research asking networkers about their success from networking. Our findings make grim reading, with most people surveyed admitting to not getting much in the way of sales. The main thing that came out of this research is that most people rely on luck rather than skill, preparation or strategy to make networking work for them.
We have found that when you have all three in place, results become better and more predictable.
What was obvious from the survey was that everyone wants to get business from networking but not everyone knows how.
From not knowing how to ask for referrals, not following up, and being scared of looking like you’re selling, through to not planning in advance and not really knowing the rules, many people struggle to make networking work.
We mustn’t kid ourselves: when you add up all the costs, networking isn’t cheap! And so ultimately we need it to produce sales – yes, that’s sales and not just pleasant relationships.
We all know that fundamentally we buy from people, and so it is a good idea for people to get to know, like and trust you. But most people appear to leave this to chance, when there is no need: you can learn how to come across in a way that will make people warm to you and your offer, leading, ultimately to ‘the sale’. So, as business owners, with more than 30 years combined experience in sales and marketing, Paul Routley (Real Sales Training) and I have put together a new product which helps people to sell – especially at networking events.
The next How to Make More Money from Networking seminar for networkers and people who want to increase sales in general, is taking place on Wednesday, July 21st at the Ramada Hotel, Tunbridge Wells.
At this powerful event, you will learn:
- How to avoid the 3 fatal mistakes that virtually every networker makes
- Why turning up to every meeting can be wasting your time
- How to design and deliver an awesome 60 seconds every time!
- How to massively increase your visibility at networking events
- How to win every time using the six degrees of separation
- How to make real sales without selling!
- How to avoid expensive membership fees
We look forward to welcoming you to this very special event.
As a fellow networker committed to referral giving and receiving, who do you know who would really appreciate your call to let them know about this valuable event?
Who have you met at a networking event that admitted to really struggling, either with, say, nerves at the events themselves, or with converting relationships into sales?
Whoever you can think of – and it’s probably one of your current contacts – send them a text or email message now, or come back and talk to me to find out more.
Call 0800 840 6093
For more info and bookings
Wednesday 21 July 2010
10am – 6pm