The sales training and marketing sections contain lots of guidance about developing or refining your offering so that it is strongly differentiated from what is already available in the market-place, whatever your market-place is.
If there is no special difference between you and other providers, then people have no reason whatsoever to choose to work with you.
Look again at how you describe your business offering (or yourself as a person) – what’s different or special about it (or you) compared with all the others?
If there is no difference, you must find a way to create one.
Sometimes this is merely a matter of redefining or placing different emphasis on what you already are and already do.
This difference must be something that plenty of people will find appealing; ideally irresistible. If you are struggling to find a difference or market advantage, look at your competitors and talk to your customers, and discover what’s missing and what can be dramatically improved out there. There is always at least one thing, usually more – perhaps you can bundle two or three powerful market advantages together.
This difference needs to shine out in your elevator speech, and be echoed in your subsequent discussions whenever initial interest develops towards supplying something, or putting a collaborative project together.
Aim high and big when thinking about and expressing yourself and your aims. Be realistic of course, but aim to be the best and to lead in some way, in whatever specialisms and market-place you operate.
Your aims should also suggest what you are seeking from business networking – otherwise, there’s no reason for you to be networking.
Business networking is not simply finding customers in one-to-one meetings and connections; it’s building a strong network, helpful for your aims. Accordingly project yourself as a great networker, as well as being a great supplier or specialist.
Business networkers want to work with other networkers who aim high, who have great ambitions; people who see what can be, not merely what is; and who strive for change and improvement.
These attitudes make things happen.
When you meet like-minded networkers with these attitudes, your network will grow because they’ll see you can make things happen too.