A better mousetrap, by itself, does not win sales. It takes prospecting, networking, asking good questions, presenting good solutions and asking for the order. So, what’s your networking strategy?
Here are some tips to help you create a networking strategy and start getting prospects in your pipeline:
1-Map out a monthly networking strategy. I advise my clients to map out a monthly networking strategy. September and October seem to be the time organizations and associations start back up with their regular or annual meetings. Look at all the events in your area, pick the ones that make sense for you to attend and put them on your calendar. Tell your spouse or partner of the dates in advance, get a babysitter if needed, clear your calendar and make it a priority to get to these events. And remember, it’s a priority to go to the ones where your clients hang out. Attending events that draw people in your line of work isn’t going to get you new business-you need to be where your prospects and customers are!
2-Make sure you have a compelling elevator speech-not mumbo-jumbo about what you do, who you work for, your title etc. Those kinds of elevator speeches lose people. It needs to be memorable and one a kindergartner can understand and repeat. I like to use the following model to help my clients create a fabulous, memorable elevator speech:
I work with (insert ideal client profile) who struggle with (insert their struggle) and who would like to (insert do anything; pay anything to get out of their pain).
So, for example, I work with entrepreneurs who struggle with their organizational skills and would do anything to take their business to the next level.
3-Are you working the room? Or are you hanging out with the people you know, or maybe even your colleagues? If you are going to take the time to attend these events, you must be talking to as many new people as you can. If you are an introvert and find “working the room” a challenge, set a goal for yourself around the number of business cards you will collect before you leave. Say to yourself, “I’m going to have five good conversations and exchange business cards with five people before I leave this room”.
4-Follow up, Follow up, Follow up! This is often the place where people fall down. They put the business cards in their pocket, go home and forget about the cards until the next time they put on the suitcoat and reach in their pocket and feel the business cards left behind. It’s imperative that after the networking event, you have a disciplined way of following up with the connections you made the night before. You must make it a priority!
So I strongly urge you to create a networking strategy for the month of October. Find the events where your clients hang out, brush up your elevator speech, work the room and follow up with all the fabulous people you meet!
“Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships. Don’t engage in ‘premature solicitation’. You’ll be a better networker if you remember that.” – Dr. Ivan Misner, NY bestselling author & founder of BNI