5 Strategies to make networking profitable

Sales are frequently developed through the relationships we have

created with other people. Networking functions provide the opportunity

to expand our contact list, particularly when we create and nurture

quality relationships. It is not enough to visit a networking group,

talk to dozens of people and gather as many business cards possible.

However, every networking function has tremendous potential for new

business leads. Here are five strategies to make networking profitable:
1. Choose the right networking group or event.

The best results come from attending the appropriate networking events

for your particular industry.

This should include trade shows, conferences, and associations

dedicated to your type of business.

For example, if your target market is a Fortune 500 company, it does

not make sense to join a group whose primary membership consists of individual business owners.

You can also participate in groups where your potential clients meet.

A friend of mine helps people negotiate leases with their landlords.

He joined the local franchise association because most franchisors

lease their properties.

2. Focus on quality contacts versus quantity.

Most people have experienced the person who, while talking to you, keeps

his eyes roving around the room, seeking his next victim.

This individual is more interested in passing out and collecting business

cards than establishing a relationship.

My approach is to make between two and five new contacts at each

networking meeting I attend.

Focus on the quality of the connection and people will become much

more trusting of you.

others

3. Make a positive first impression

. You have EXACTLY one opportunity to make a great first impression.

Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake,

facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your

overall attentiveness. Develop a great handshake, approach people with

a natural, genuine smile and make good eye contact.

Notice the colour of the other person’s eyes as you introduce yourself.

Listen carefully to their name. If you don’t hear them or understand exactly what

they say, ask them to repeat it. Many people do not speak clearly or loudly

enough and others are very nervous at networking events.

Make a powerful impression by asking them what they do before talking

about yourself or your business. As Stephen Covey states, “Seek first to

understand and then to be understood.”

Comment on their business, ask them to elaborate, or have them

explain something in more detail.

As they continue, make sure you listen intently to what they tell you.

Once you have demonstrated interest in someone else, they

will – in most cases – become more interested in you.

When that occurs, follow the step outline in the next point

mot3
4. Be able to clearly state what you do.

Develop a ten second introduction as well as a thirty second presentation.

The introduction explains what you do and for whom

. For example; “I work with boutique retailers to help them increase

their sales and profits.”

This introduction should encourage the other person to ask for more

information.

When they do, you recite your thirty second presentation.

“Bob Smith of High Profile Clothing wanted a program that would

help his sales managers increase their sales.

After working with them for six months we achieved a 21.5 percent

increase in sales.

Plus, sales of their premium line of ties have doubled in this time frame.”

As you can see, this gives an example of your work and the typical

results you have help your clients achieve.

Each of these introductions needs to be well-rehearsed so you can recite

them at any time and under any circumstance. You must be genuine, authentic,

and as I recently heard a speaker say, “bone-dry honest.”

5. Follow up after the event. In my experience, most people drop

the ball here. Yet the follow-up is the most important aspect of networking. T

here are two specific strategies to follow:

First, immediately after the event – typically the next day – you should

send a handwritten card to the people you met.

Mention something from your conversation and express your interest

to keep in contact.

Always include a business card in your correspondence.
Next, within two weeks, contact that person and arrange to meet

for coffee or lunch. This will give you the opportunity to learn

more about their business, the challenges they face, and how you could

potentially help them.

This is NOT a sales call – it is a relationship building meeting.
Networking does produce results.

The more people know about you and your business, and the more they

trust you, the greater the likelihood they will either work with you or

refer someone else to you.
Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group,

works with businesses to help them drive sales, increase

profits and motivate their employees. Kelley is the author of “Stop,

Ask & Listen – How to welcome your customers and increase your sales.”

He can be reached at Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com or at 905-633-7750

SidneyMeetUpFebMar2013

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