Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If You are Not Networking You Are Losing Thousands Of Potential Customers

Let me say from the onset that networking is not multilevel marketing (MLM) or a pyramid scheme. Having said that networking is the building of business relationships. Note that the primary focus is on building relationships.
  • Sales and business connections are often developed from the relationships we have with other people, and networking provides the opportunity to meet people and expand your contact list.
  • Choosing the right group to join or event to attend is crucial, otherwise you will meet people who have very little or no interest in what you have to say. Focus on the quality of your contacts not on quantity. Getting two quality contacts who will answer your phone calls or read your letters are better than having ten who will not.
  • The first impression your contact gets about you could be what cement the relationship or take it apart. A firm handshake, a pleasant facial expression, a demonstration of interest in your contact, and attentiveness to his/her name and line of business will convince your contact that you are not only there to sell some product, and quickly move onto your next victim.
  • Your first meeting with a contact should be about understanding his problems, needs and concerns and collecting contact information. Clearly state what you do in 15 seconds and in 30 seconds what you have done to help people with similar problems. Don't use the initial meeting to promote your credentials. Your contact is not interested in your credentials, not yet, but in how your solution can solve his problem.
  • The follow up after a networking event is where many small business owners come short. Send a handwritten card to the people you met the next day, referring to the networking event where you met. Within two weeks send them letters arranging to meet for lunch or coffee to learn more about their businesses and how you can help.
  • If a month goes by with no communication between your contacts and you, they may forget about you, and potential customers may be lost. You may talk to your contacts by phone, but you will get better results by using a letter, newsletter or articles in your blog to demonstrate your expertise or the value of your product by sending them useful ideas and suggestions they can use immediately.
  • The average person is estimated to know about 250 people. This means each person you meet has the potential to connect you with over 60,000 people. The more people you meet, and the quality of your relationship with them will take your name and products to places where alone you could never have reached.
  • This reach will allow you to become a powerful resource for your contacts. The quality and regularity of the ideas and suggestions you send to them will keep your product on their minds, and be the first person they come to when they need help.
  • Your contact list will further expand when you follow up on referrals that others give you. Contacts who give you referrals have confidence in your expertise, reliability or the quality of your product. They have found your solution to their problems helpful, and would like to share with their family and friends what they have found. Be sure to follow up on your referrals.
  • Social medias like facebook, twitter, myspace and linkedIn are providing networking opportunities for millions of business people on the Internet. But you will agree that eventually you have to meet your contact in person and shake his/her hand before you feel comfortable enough to sign that $100,000 contract.
  • If you are not networking, you are losing thousands of potential customers who have money to spend and need your service or product, but do not know that you exist. Go to events where you will meet large number of people. Initiate conversation with people you meet. Ask to be introduced to people you don't know. Express genuine interest in your conversations. Give out your business cards, and follow up on your contacts.
The primary purpose of networking is the building of business relationships; the buying and selling of goods and services are its byproducts. Only when you have developed those relationships will you get their byproducts in increase sales.

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