by Charlie Cook
Is networking helping you bring in the
new clients you want?
If you are like most independent
professionals and small
business owners, you put hard work into
getting your name
out there and distribute your business
card wherever you go.
You may even attend a weekly or monthly
or occasional business conference where
people share leads.
And like most people, your time and
effort isn't generating
a steady stream of new business.
The problem is that most people think that networking
consists of telling as many people as possible what they do,
and handing out as many business cards as they can. They
waste the few precious moments they have with new and
existing contacts by focusing on themselves.
Its possible to meet someone in the airport, hand them your
card after a brief conversation, and have them call you to
request your services, but this random approach is like
playing the lottery. You can't count on it to produce
results. It is a Push and Pray technique: you push your
information out to others and pray that they respond.
It rarely works. Your contact loses your card or simply
forgets about you, or the timing wasn't right, or, in
spite of the connection you thought you'd made, a single
conversation usually isn't enough to launch a client
That initial conversation should be about understanding
your prospects' problems, needs and concerns, and collecting
their contact information. The objective of networking
is not to expound on your credentials.
Spend the time you have with prospects (or people who
might know a prospect) asking questions and collecting
information. Then you can determine whether they would
have any genuine interest in/need for the solutions you
provide. Use this client problem centered networking
strategy to initiate and build profitable relationships.
1. See how many cards you can collect from prospects, and
don't worry about how many of your own business cards you
distribute. Some successful marketers don't even have a
2. When you meet people, use the time to gather
information from them, including:
• Primary concerns about their business
• Problems they want solved
• Unmet business needs
• Areas where the solutions you provide overlap with
• Their contact information
3. Continue to expand your network. Whenever you make a
contact, ask for referrals to other prospects.
4. Once you have this information, enter it into your
database or contact manager.
1. People have short memories. Follow-up after your
initial contact and then stay in touch with your network
on a regular basis. If you let more than a month go by
without making contact they'll forget that you exist and
that you are the best person to solve their financial, legal,
human resource, design, or other problems.
You'll want to make personal contact with some people on
your prospect list, but in most cases, a letter, newsletter
or ezine will do the job. Use the merge function in your
software to personalize your mailings.
2. Demonstrate the value of your expertise or products by
sending prospects and clients an idea or suggestion they can
use right away. You could present this in an article you've
written, or one you've read. Your contact will then associate
you with the problems you solve.
Pull information from prospects and clients to grow your
network, stay in touch and regularly demonstrate the value
of your products and services.
Networking should be one of the core marketing tactics of
most independent professionals and small business owners.
Use client-centered networking to lessen your reliance on
costly and time consuming cold calling/telemarketing and
advertising. Over time, this business building strategy will
reward you with a steady stream of new clients.
Building Bridges by
Connecting: Enrich Relationships in Life and Business
We all grow from connection. The stronger the connection the more we grow. Take a look at these 4 simple steps to strengthen your relationships at work and home.
The more bridges you build the less isolated you feel. The stronger the connection the greater the opportunities that flow both
Networking For Success
We've all heard that networking should
be an integral part of our
total marketing plan. But what is networking? And is it the same for
off-line marketing as it is for on-line marketing?
7 Ways to Easily Network
People underestimate how easy it is to network, no matter what field they are in. Along those lines, they also underestimate the importance of networking, even when the business is YOU.