Archives for Networking

Fresh Blood in the Business Networking Gene Pool

Grow

Fresh Blood in the Business Networking Gene Pool

By Jeffery Glaze

How many times did you see me at a networking event in the past month? If it is a staple of your business it should have been more than once. How many people did you meet for the first time while networking? I am hoping that you can’t even think of the number. If you can count the number of new contacts that you made, I would ask “is your business growing?”

I am sure that I have talked to you in the past about comfort zones. This is the place where we know people and we feel comfortable. We get a few referrals now and then, and hey, “I don’t have to feel out of place”. Like the saying from the theme of the sitcom “Cheers” “I want to go where everybody knows my name”.

The problem with this is that in most cases we don’t have enough people who know our name to become extremely successful. How can we change this?

We have to reach beyond the comfort zone. We have to network outside of our own area or geographic vicinity.

Even then, we are working within a group of people who are networking regularly in their own areas. This creates a situation where our success is limited by meeting people who are currently networking to promote their business. What happens when no new business comes into our group? If we are not doing other things to prospect for business, we burn each other out.

Let me use the alligator for example. If you put a pair of alligators in a pond that has fish, sooner or later, the gators will eat all of the fish in the pond. If animals come to the pond to drink, the gators have a way to get more food. What do the gators do when the food runs out? They go looking for it. They often end up far from the pond in someones back yard looking lovingly at the family pet. The gator moves beyond the comfort zone or it starves to death.

As we continue to network in the same group, we find that if no new business comes into the group, or leads do not come through the members from outside the group, the group will literally starve to death or less dramatically, go out of business.

The best way for the group to flourish is to bring in fresh blood or new members. It is especially effective if the new members have never used business networking before to build their business. Suddenly new opportunities open up for a portion of the group that did not previously exist. The new member immediately has a group of new prospects to work with.

Most of us who network a lot also have business that is outside of networking. What would happen if we brought that business into the group? What if they in turn brought their clients into the group? Not only would networking organizations get larger, but the people currently in those organizations would prosper in a big way.

Have you ever considered asking clients or prospects if they have ever networked as a part of their business? If you were to ask them and they respond no, you have the opportunity to tell them the benefits of networking and invite them into the group. If they respond yes, they tried it a couple of times, but saw no results, simply explain to them that it takes at least 7 points of contact before most people will do business. Tell them that if they were to attend a group on a regular basis, then they would realize the results that comes from the relationship building process. Then take the opportunity to invite them to the next meeting.
Even though this sounds like a lot of work, it really is not. In the end, your group the entire networking community benefits, as well as the business that gets involved. Business networking keeps business local. It builds communities by building the relationships in the community. It is through these relationships that we can fulfill our needs for our business and ourselves.

Have you invited an outsider to a meeting lately? Next time you think about giving a client a gift, give the gift of networking..

How Well Do You Know Them?

get_to_know_your_audience

 How Well Do You Know Them?

It is often said that it is not who you know that matters, it is who knows you. Well I would like to extend this statement by saying that it is not only who you know and who knows you, but how well do you know them and they you?

In business, networking is the ultimate form of promotion. It can help you to obtain new clients, a new job, or even help you to move up the corporate ladder. It is the process of building relationships. Any time that you attend a meeting, trade show, or a social function, you are networking whether you realize it or not. It is the relationship that you have with people, a prospect or a client that makes the difference between success and failure.

Often we fail to realize the reasons that we have for doing business with an individual or a company. In the case of products that we regularly buy, what helps us to make the buying decision? There are those that will buy a specific brand of product because they trust that brand to be of a high quality or durability. There are others that will make a buying decision based on price, although this is less frequently the case. Often we simply do business because we feel good about it. In fact most purchases or decisions to do business are based on two things. Trust and comfort. Trust is a very intangible emotion or feeling. How do you measure it? How do you develop it?

Trust is measured by the feelings that are generated by a process of letting someone get to know more about you than just product, features and price. I know a gentleman who provides a seminar on selling to C-level executives. He says that to sell to the C-level executive you have to be more than a salesperson selling a product or service. To sell to the executive level, you have to be more of an adviser. You have to find needs other than the ones that you can fulfill and help them to fulfill these needs. In doing this, you become a “trusted adviser”. They feel “comfortable” that you have their interests in mind more than just making a quick sale and a commission.

In our daily process of seeking prospective clients, do we often just look for a person to pitch, or do we spend a bit more time getting to know them before we try to sell?

When we take the time to know a persons desires, dreams, and needs, and make an honest effort to help them realize that these things are important to us, we are really on the fast track to doing business with them. We are building the trust, confidence, comfort level, and most importantly the relationship that is needed to not only make the sale, but to create in them a resource for endless referrals.

As we go into the community meeting people who are prospective clients, we should keep the following in mind. The customer is a person just like me. The customer has needs other than the one that I can fulfill. Until I understand what the ultimate goal or dream of the prospect is, I cannot fulfill it with my product or service.

Selling and networking are about relationships. You sell in everything that you do whether you realize it or not. The time is now for more effective selling. Change the way you think about the prospect and the prospect will change the way that they think about you.

Seven Points of Contact

Networking

 Seven Points of Contact

By Jeffrey Glaze

Have you ever heard that it takes at least seven points of contact before someone will consider doing business with you? I have heard this many times and I believe that it is true that it takes many points of contact, tho I am not sure that it has to be seven.

The fact is that usually we will not do business with someone we do not know. Of course the exceptions to this rule come in the form of shopping for personal or home items when we go to the mall, or we stop to get a burger for lunch. I am sure you do not really know the person that you bought your washer and dryer from , or do you?

Buying decisions for the most part are made up from collective experiences. We might decide to buy from a particular store because we have shopped there a lot and had a good experience with it. We might decide to visit that store on the recommendation of a friend. Sometimes just plain old advertising draws us in and out of curiosity we find a new favorite place to shop.

In most of the businesses we encounter in networking, we want to know more about the business before we make a buying decision. In particular, we want to know more about the person who is talking to us. We want to be able to trust this person before we buy from them. Why is this? In some cases the product or service that a person is selling does not cost much, yet we need to feel comfortable in making a buying decision.

In order for someone to trust you enough to buy from you, you have to be able to let them get to know you. You can accomplish this by making contact many times and being a real person when you do. If you frequent many meetings a month, you should always take the time to say hello to people whom with you have previously met. Ask them how things are going for them on a more personal level than just asking, “how’s it goin?”.

Show genuine concern for their answer by listening. Listening and responding will help develop a deeper relationship. Be more than a passing face in the crowd and you will build deeper more valuable relationships with people.
The biggest mistake that we can make in networking is to be superficial. If we do not let people know more about us than our name and what we do, we will never be as effective as we can be. As people get to know you, they can make a decision to buy from you or not. In this realm, price and features have no meaning. It is you that makes your product better.

They may say that seven points of contact are required to make the sale, but the quality of that contact determines the outcome. Be sure to be yourself when you are out there, be genuine, be concerned, be human, and most of all be comfortable with it. This will help you to generate success that you never thought was possible.