How to network like a professional

10th May 2013

Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here are some thoughts on how to market your business for free through the networking groups on your doorstep.

Network with attitude - people buy people.  Then they buy their  products and services.  Confident networking will help you make these connections. Where to begin?  Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Each month they will host a breakfast, lunch or evening meeting.  Sign up and go along.

Preparation - establish which events are most appropriate for you.  Go through the delegate lists in advance and identify people or companies that you would like to have a conversation with.

What do I say? People love to talk about themselves – so FORD

F – Family

O – Occupation/ career

R –Recreation – what do people enjoy doing in their spare time

D – Dreams / Goals

Get them talking about how great their kids are  and they will think you are the most interesting person in the world – even though you might not have told them anything about yourself. Remember … be interested, not interesting.

Set yourself targets and challenges - for example, you’re going to tell five chosen people about a particular aspect of your business or you’re going to get five business cards and pave the way for a follow up call to at least one of them.

When do I move in for the kill? Networking is not a blood sport. Before you stab them in the heart with your sharpened business card, think of how you can win their trust.  Do they have a particular need; is there any free advice you
can offer? Do as much as you can to start a business friendship rather than a cold and calculated hard sell.

The Referral Circle - broker relationships with companies who can refer business to you.

Someone save me! You’ve engaged somebody in conversation who will never become a customer. You don’t want to be rude, so what can you do? Have a couple of excuses ready. These might include:

“I’m keen to ask
the speaker a question, would you excuse me for a minute?”

“There’s a person I
must quickly say hello to, but you’re welcome to join us.”

What do I do afterwards? Like all relationships, you have to invest time to make it work. Phone call follow-ups, meetings, further offers of assistance, corporate hospitality invitations.

Now go get networking!




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