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The #1 reason businesses “network” is to increase leads to the business and make more money. When you ask a business owner where “networking’ ranks in importance in their marketing plans most will always say it’s in the top 3 strategies.
So, if the #1 reason businesses join BNI, join a chamber, or other group is for networking and networking is one of the top marketing strategies…then it begs the question: What are you doing, reading, or attending to increase your knowledge and skills in networking?
Here are some tips to make your networking an effective marketing strategy…
Before you head out the door….
- Be clear on ideal customers
- Identify the best networking functions to attend (find out from others where your ideal customer ‘hangs out’)
- Set goals for how many new prospects you’d like to meet at the event
In the moment….
- Top 4 things that must exist if someone is going to buy from you: They must like you, believe you, have confidence in you, and trust you (if all four exist, they may buy from you. If any one of the four is missing, they will never buy from you.)
- Of these four things (like, believe, confidence, and trust), like is the most important. It is the “ticket in the door”. A prospect must like you before they will ever believe you, have confidence or trust you. No one ever says, “I trust that person but I don’t like them…”
- The “close” in networking is to get an ideal target to agree to a one-on-one follow-up meeting. Get a very specific commitment if possible.
After you connect with someone….
- Prompt follow-up (Have a system for same day if possible.)
- Send a personal note by mail! (The average worker in the U.S. gets 52 emails a day and over 50% are deleted without opening. 6 billion individual pieces of mail are delivered each year in the U.S. – 75% are thrown in the trash without opening. But, over 90% of handwritten, hand addressed notes are opened and viewed – which statistic do you choose?)
YOUR CHALLENGE: Take a look at the current networking you are doing and look for two ways that you can improve your effectiveness.