Seeking the group that is best for you? Consider these points:
into the old E-Mail bag, we have been getting a lot of requests from folks that
have woken up to networking regarding how to find the group that is right for
always give them the same answer and that is to check out the story we ran way
back in 97, written by a great NetWorker and guest writer.
can we say, good advice is timeless, so here it is folks:
month we bring you some thoughts on networking from Jonathan P. Rich. Jonathan
is an extremely active NetWorker in the greater Los Angeles area. When not
Networking Jonathan is busy running his two businesses, specializing in
Promotional Items and Binders.
the group that is best for you? Consider these points:
are many networking opportunities. Vertical groups (usually a trade association
with commonality of purpose), horizontal groups that are a good mixture,
political groups, exclusivity groups (only allow one person to attend from a
particular trade or industry). There are membership organizations that require a
membership fee and those that do not.
meetings can be costly in time and money. Determining the best value is
extremely important to get the most return on your investment. Follow these suggestions to get the best value. Your results
the energy level of the group. Is everyone happy being there? Is attending a
chore or a necessity for them?
where your money goes when you join a group; make sure your fees are for tax
you willing to accept the rules and requirements of the group? !
marketing -- building a successful network
you have a generation or two you can educate your customer, much the way apple
computer did by placing their products in the schools. As time is an
irreplaceable commodity you must develop a high-impact plan - a plan requiring
less time - and more cost efficient - than anything used in the past.
is our feedback. There are excellent methods of marketing that fall between
generational and instant success. Change is not a choice! It is necessitated by
the current - and projected - economic climate. Today, it is essential to build
and maintain a relationship with your prospect, customer or client. As their
comfort level builds with you, they will prefer to use your product or service.
If they can't use the product or service, they are much more willing to offer a
'third party endorsement in recommending you to others in their sphere of
things being equal, people would rather do business with people they know! The
hidden value of networking.
who are desperate for a sale will not work to develop the relationship; they
will not display the consistency nor the follow-up - so important in showing
your stability in business and reliability of service. To re-focus our vision
for the next decade - it is absolutely essential that you determine the
demographics of the market. Not just the people you want but the people who are
buying your product or service. This is the selection process. Unless you're a
mass merchandiser, you want to qualify your customer base to get the quality you
seek rather than volume or quantity. In essence: think strategy.
Lead generation is essential in any business. Some people place fishbowls in an exhibit space to collect cards in drawing for a television set. Do these people put their cards in the bowl because of an interest in your product or service? Or, because they want to win a TV set?
Tip: when you establish a lead generation program, think it out. Your time is valuable - time is an irreplaceable resource! Lead generation giveaways are a waste of another valuable resource: money! Remember - never giveaway that which you sell as an inducement to buy it. By giving it away you establish its true value.
If you select your client/customer rather than their selecting you, you will reduce the number of false leads (non-performers, tire-kickers, lookie-lou's, freebie-collectors, etc.) you get. Instead - go after the good prospects - those who have a need for your product or service. Whether by their inquiry or those prospects you have targeted in your demographics survey, they are in your front line as customers. Building relationships is vital to all successful businesses today!
for successful networking
early at networking venues - stay in the front and help greet people instead of
just sitting down - plan to stay late.
you are with a friend, associate or another, don’t ‘hang’ with them or sit
together - divide & conquer!
sufficient business cards & promotional materials. Business cards should let
the reader know your product or service. Cards at $20.00 per 1000 should be
thrown away if there are changes. Never cross out or write in a change on your
your materials in a professional appearing case. Look professional!
well - image counts - There aren’t many opportunities to make a second
‘first impression"! It goes without saying - you should be clean, neat
and odor free (Includes alcoholic breath and B. O.). Women: avoid overpowering
scents, bulky, unattractive purses & worn shoes.
the name badge on your right side.
you meet someone for the first time, exchange business cards, repeat their name
and listen to them. Ask questions that encourage responses that give good
information. Say your name at least twice.
listening you can then tailor your response with a ‘you benefit’ (for them -
not you)’ Possibly an idea, a strategy or a contact that would benefit their
the quality, not the quantity of the networking that counts!
prepared 10, 20 and 30 second ‘commercials’ about your business.
never know when you will be called on to ‘advertise’.
you lose the focus of your mission, you lose your audience.
multiple hats confuses your prospect.
a relationship to look beyond a quick sale. Listen to others when they speak.
Relate to them; an individual may not need your product or service but if they
are comfortable with you, they may 'third-party endorse' you or allow you to
access the next dimension in your relationship.
for business, opportunity & growing your team - not just a sale.
you are desperate, or vulnerable - don’t show it!
you meet someone for the first time, spend some time with them - usually three
minutes. If there is observable potential, set up a meeting for later (lunch,
office). If you are new ask the person to introduce you to someone else - if
they are new, offer to introduce them to another. Don’t monopolize.
there is a speaker - introduce yourself - make him/her feel comfortable and
welcomed. You will be remembered.
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Last modified: November 08, 2002