Welcome to this months News You Can Use.
- 6 Days – 7 Networking Meetings – Pros and cons of different types of networking.
- From Stranger to Customer – The foundation of sales and marketing explained.
- Tools and Websites to Use.
1. Six Days – 7 Networking Meetings
Some kind of madness gripped me last month and I decided to go on a burst of business networking.
Business networking works differently for different companies and for some it is not a viable strategy. Be careful before dismissing networking though as it may be something you are doing wrong that stops it being effective. For example if you don’t build relationships and try to sell all the time.
I attended four different types of networking meeting in that period. Speednetworking, 4Networking, a Private event and the Muesli Mafia. I will attempt BNI and BOB networking meetings at some point soon. As you can see from the table below I highlighted
- The number of people at the meeting
- The number of contacts I made
- How long I had to talk to each contact
- If you could talk to the room how long you pitched for
- If you had an appointment slot given to you how long was your part of the appointment.
As you can see it varied greatly. Speed networking giving more quantity with less quality time. The first two are based on the format of the meeting giving you time with prospects while the last two the face to face time was informal and up to you.
There are additional benefits from the meetings including.
- Some inspiration and education – The meeting often included a talk – This is how long that part lasted.
- How social I felt the event was. This was a measure of in its ability to let you really build relationships over time.
I have four aims at Networking meetings – to sell, buy, advise and refer. Speed networking opened more doors but not as wide as the 4Networking meetings. I will be attending all of these again and plan to be very involved with 4Networking, which also has a very active online networking community.
In each case you need to plan your marketing before you attend.
For speed networking you have to be very clear about what you offer and have some marketing material available to follow up with. You need a plan to grow the relationships after your 2 minute pitch. A leaflet handed out is not enough.
For 4Networking your 40sec pitch is important to practice before hand. At each meeting you have three 1 to 1 appointments guaranteed, so you need to know what to say and how to follow up afterwards.
For events like the Muesli Mafia and the private event you need more social skills to move around the room talking to people. Better you are at that skill then the more people you can talk to. Again you need to plan your follow up.
My conclusion: Networking works for me, I recommend trying different types. Personally I will be doing more 4Networking as there are over 300 meetings across the country, more than 10 with half an hours travelling. I will be offering a couple of 4Sight talks (the education/inspiration) part. I plan to do the occasional speednetworking and a good few private and invitation events that I discover along the way.
2. From Stranger To Customer
Every customer or client has to go on a journey with your business from a stranger to customer. While the detail in every business is different the steps are remarkably similar.
Understanding this journey will help you understand how to market and sell your products or services. At each stage of the journey the individual needs different things from you or your business. Get it wrong and you risk losing business.
Have you ever suggested a meeting to a potential customer and felt them back away and resist. This is probably because they are still at the prospect stage and require more information. They are not ready to explore working with you and you have more to do.
The graphic and video below give you an overview of the journey, its stages and what you need to do. This concept forms the foundation of our Lift Off Program where we help you build marketing and sales processes that deliver new business.
3. Tools you can use
Card Munch (www.cardmunch.com) is an Iphone app that allows you to take pictures of business cards. After a minute or so you either receive the details from the card typed up or a connection to their linkedin profile. You can then quickly connect to them. If linkedin is part of your networking strategy it is well worth exploring.
Rapportive (rapportive.com) is an add-on to Gmail, google email system. If you are not using Gmail and still using outlook then you may wish to watch - Why are you still using Outlook?. Rapportive allows you to view facebook, twitter, linkedin etc data for the person you are emailing or received an email from. You can quickly connect to them using connect and follow buttons that appear. It is a great way to link to others and see what they are up to. It will even pull up a picture of the person if it can find one. No guarantees it is a flattering one.