Sunday, August 25, 2013

Networking For New Business

Networking Is Key To Getting New Business

Networking was the single activity outside of marketing that blew doors open, brought us new clients, and increased our influence as well as our bottom line. We went to all kinds of networking events and we learned that none are better than others. All work, it is just that some work differently from others. In meetings where only four people showed up we wrote two major sales. At beer and wings events we met many people and they were added to our vortex immediately by connecting with them on LinkedIn. We began to love weekly referral meetings and learned to engage the whole group to become our own sales force. It was enjoyable and it was fruitful. It was a powerful tool when we met people online and then met them at a networking meeting and then again at a coffee shop.

Marketing Or Networking?

I am always baffled by those who ask me if they should spend their money on marketing or networking? That is like saying should I drink liquids or breath? Both are essential to life. I can't imagine trying to hang onto one while forsaking the other! Why would you choose?

Marketing must happen. It is the support behind the scenes for all other sales efforts. These days people look you up on Google so you better be there and be there a lot! Marketing produces all of the things that people see when you meet them through networking. What they find out about you online may determine why they decide to do business with you and it is the basis by which they compare you to your competitors. However, you can't make sales if you don't know anyone. Who you know is important. How well they know you is important. How they feel about you is important.

Networking Is About Relationships

Relationships are the main factor in networking. Some people get excited that they know someone famous online, but the real value comes with those we meet and really network with. An online relationship only goes so far. Some people put great value on their distance communication list and there is some merit in it, but don’t let the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger talks to you on LinkedIn deceive you into thinking you are somebody big locally. That is not the only basket you need eggs in. Who you know right here, right now, and how they feel about you is more important if you are a local business person.
Make friends. Play nice in the sandbox. Lean the rules of engagement because there are rules of engagement whether you realize it or not. If you want to succeed fast you need to know how to play the game. Giving is best. When in doubt give some more. Give time. Give value. Give referrals. Give yourself. Buy drinks. Hand out gifts. Shake hands. Look people in the eye. Smile. Give some more. This is how one builds relationships that matter.

You will make mistakes. You will inadvertently insult someone. Go apologize. Give that too. These are all lessons of networking and building relationships. You are a real networker when you have 200 people or more that you could call on the phone and say “Hey, I’m having a party” and they don’t ask “Who is this?” They just ask what they can bring. People want to be around a networker. They like others who invest in relationships.

Real networkers don’t just invite people to come to their deal. They can be successful inviting because they were already out attending. They went to the events, the private parties, the coffee meetings, the birthday gatherings, the Stampede Pancake Breakfast and the celebrations. They are widely connected because they left their office. There is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes for next overnight sensation.

We made networking a lifestyle and it has significantly increased our bottom line. Bob Francis, Zechariah James and myself go to our own events, to others events, and we take in personal events. We plan them into our schedules, we coordinate with each other where we are going and who will cover which event. As a result we are writing larger business deals every month. We are becoming connectors who connect others to the people and things they need and we are teaching those valuable networking skills to our members at the CIBN as well.

Networking will help you to succeed faster and it brings you new business!

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