For many people, going to a networking event is painful. In part because it sometimes feels like people are just handing out cards, looking for a deal. Although I have to say that many of the events I have attended recently I have not seen that.
Another reason that people don’t like networking events is that they are uncomfortable with networking. That is, connecting at a genuine level with someone else to see if there might be a relationship. They don’t know what to say or what to do.
I get it. When I started in my career, I would get my drink and hunker right up to the wall to see what was what. After a career in sales and many years in Toastmasters, I now can have a conversation with almost any willing participant. Here are some ideas that may help you at your next networking event.
First, what is the event and who are the people that will be there? (If you can get their names great, if not, ask yourself what industries are they in, what is the common interest?) Then think through your introduction and practice, yes practice. Trust me when I tell you the naturals were not natural when they started.
“Hi, my name is John Gies with RAS-Squared, what brings you to this gathering of conscious business leaders?”
So, what happens after they have answered that question? There are a few areas of conversation that are always safe to explore at a networking event.
- How did you get involved in… (the industry, their company, this gathering)?
- What kinds of clients are you looking to meet?
- Have you done any interesting travel lately? (If they have they will enjoy telling you)
- Where do you want to go next in your career?
- What books, or movies have captured your interest lately?
- Where do you like to go here in town for dinner, lunch, coffee? (As a coffee lover, I love discovering new coffee shops)
Dale Carnegie said it over 80 years ago, “show sincere interest in others and be a good listener.” This is the way to win friends and influence people.
Once you have made a connection and feel like there is potential, it is time to move on. You can say something like, “I really enjoyed meeting you, do you think we should schedule a call to see if there is a way we can help each other?” Then it is time to move on and make another connection.
I never recommend making a pitch. That is what turns off so many people from these networking events. I once saw a mature sales executive block a potential buyer literally in a corner until he could score an appointment. He got the appointment and I will wager he never got the deal.
Patience… if you make a real and genuine connection and nurture it, there will come a time where they will want to know how they can help you.
So, to recap:
- Know your audience (what is the common interest of the group)
- Prepare and practice an introduction (Your names and a question for them)
- Open a conversation and connect
- Ask and answer the question, “Should we connect further”?
- Don’t make a pitch make a connection.
If you would like to learn how you or your team can benefit from better communication skills for accountability, engagement and performance, schedule a call with John to explore the possibilities. CALENDAR
Small Business Owners are often reluctant to put a stake in the ground in order to claim their Market Dominating Position. But when they do, their ideal clients start finding them.
Here are Six Steps to finding that strategic position:
- Ask yourself, “will this position deliver a competitive advantage in the marketplace”? Think about how 24 Hour fitness created a competitive advantage when they decided to be open 24 hours a day. They innovated around time and convenience.
- They also built the strategic position into their name (24-hour fitness). They named out loud and everywhere they communicated their competitive advantage.
- Identify the result you want to deliver for your client. Think about how Domino’s Pizza created the result of fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. On the other hand, California Pizza Kitchen delivers gourmet pizza. In the pizza game both pursuing different markets, both creating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
- Now define the process you and your company need to follow to consistently deliver that result over and over again. (Policies, procedures, SOP’s – it is the only way you can grow.)
- How will you control your quality? Document and implement that.
- How will you measure success throughout the process (Key Performance Indicators)
If you want to be able to take a vacation. If you want to be able to have a business you can sell, if you want to grow your business you must create your market dominating position and then document your process to own that position.
Do you want to learn more about how you can create your strategic position check out the resources ar https://ras-squared.com
It is ironic how many business owners decide that what they need is “marketing”. So, they go and hire a marketing team (outsourced or internal). Then after spending thousands of dollars, they wonder what went wrong. I mean they are running ads, they’ve jumped on the Insta and Tik Tok bandwagon…where are the new clients?
The Owner never took the time to be strategic, to really understand their place in the market. They did not determine how to actually own that space in their client’s mind. It starts with Your Market Dominating Position. This is a strategic position where the value you deliver aligns with what your clients want in a unique way that helps them trust you and your recommendations rapidly.
- It is not that you are a wealth advisor (no one cares).
- It is not that you are a business attorney (no one cares).
- It is not that you are a painter, plumber, or candlestick maker.
Your client has a problem, and they want a solution. The Problem they want to solve is not that they need a wealth advisor. They’ve already decided to look at that. Their problem is how do they find one that will speak to them and not down to them? How do they know that the advisor is working for them and not the commissions? Heck, how do they know the advisor isn’t another Bernie Madoff? How do you solve THAT problem?
If you are a plumber, they know they need a plumber. But have you seen the stuff plumbers walk in every day? Do you want that in your house? There are some plumbers that demonstrate concern for the home by putting booties on to protect the homeowners floors when they enter, alleviating that concern. Or we’ve all heard stories about plumbers (and other trades) that upsell inappropriately or that make things worse. How do you solve THAT problem?
That is why you start with your Market Dominating Position. It separates you from all the rest. It is not a platitude like Quality, Expertise, or we are Bonded. It connects with the emotional hot buttons of your clients.
And your outside marketing expert will never get that, unless you as the owner gets it. You have to know your client’s problem better than your clients do. When you can articulate it better than they can, they know that you know the solution.
Take the time, invest the energy to get really clear on your Market Dominating Position, and then see what happens when you promote your business. If you would like some help with your Market Dominating Position (MDP), consider joining the class starting in January 2022. You can embrace your (MDP) and generate new clients, new revenue, and new profits, WITHOUT spending more money on marketing and advertising.
As a small business owner, you may not be able to afford to bring on a full time marketing person. And you are too busy running the business so for many of you the smart choice is to outsource.
The challenge is there are a lot of players in the marketing space that think because they post on social media, they are a digital marketing business. I know several owners that met someone with a good story at a networking event and now they have spent thousands of dollars and are wondering what happened.
Here are some thoughts to help you be successful:
First, own your marketing strategy yourself. DO NOT outsource this. You must own your message. No one will understand your business, or your market better than you will. (If they do that’s a problem). Do this, invest time in creating your Market Dominating Message (MDM). This is the message that is client facing and completely differentiates you from the competition so that you are the obvious choice.
Second, determine where your ideal market is. Some are on Facebook and others are still reading the hard cover newsletter. I know of a Homeowners Association that sells ads starting at $50/mo. For a home improvement business or Real Estate professional this is WAY better than Facebook or Twitter. The demographics in this community are people retired and or downsizing and new people are moving in. So, there is a lot of opportunity for a refresh of the property. And there are approximately 1,500 homes in the community. This is very cost effective.
Third, when you decide to outsource get references and check the references. You can’t afford not to. Like I said, I have seen countless people choose someone with a good story at a networking event only to be disappointed.
Finally, if you choose to use Fivver or another source like this, hire two or three people for your project and then pick the best one. At the prices they offer you can afford. It. Your business needs the best.
When you take the time to slow down and own your marketing and then you are clear in how and what to outsource, your business can scale. For more resources you can checkout Https://ras-squared.com
Are You Overwhelmed with How to Create Content to Connect with Your Buyer? Three Steps to First Marketing Plan
Many small business owners get so busy “working” that they don’t have time to market. And then when the “work “they are doing is done, they look around and ask, “Where are my customers?” One way to avoid this is to have a marketing plan that is easy to execute and that pulls customers to your business.
This can seem complicated but, with a bit of creativity, it can be simple and fun.
First: Create the baseline content. Think of this as your warehouse of ideas. Step one; write down the top ten questions your customers tend to ask you. Step two; write down the top ten questions you wish they would ask you. Step three; answer those question in 300 to 500 words for each question.
Congratulations, you now have twenty Blog posts.
Second: Review the twenty questions and your answers and ask yourself what are the three to seven things that are most important to help your buyer? Pull those out and create a flyer, free report, or check list that you can trade to prospective buyers in return for their email address. For example:
- The Top Three Things Your Should Ask Your Plumber
- The 14-point Checklist That Ensures Your Success
- Don’t Allow Your Accountant to Surprise You
You can find a graphic designer to help you put together the finalized product and now you have a “Lead Magnet.” Something to attract potential buyers.
Third: Review each of your blog posts and pick the most valuable idea from each, then write 150 – 200 words. And create a video for social media on each. You can record these on your phone. And you can download a teleprompter app like BigVu for both a free and professional version.
Congratulations you now have twenty videos or twenty weeks of “Content” to help you attract potential customers.
By taking time at the beginning to list and answer twenty questions you have created almost an entire years’ worth of content and a lead magnet by repurposing the content.
You have twenty blog posts. You have twenty videos. And you have a lead magnet. Put these pieces together and ping your potential customers emotional hot buttons and watch your business explode.
If you are overwhelmed and are looking for ways to acquire customers, check out my website with free resources.
Stay Positive, Test Negative