enough other people to get what they want"
This quote by Zig Ziglar is really the essence of what Networking is all about, and it applies to the Business world just as in life.
When you really think about it, whatever business we are working in or promoting, it’s about helping people to solve a problem that they have. Yes, we are in the business of selling our products and services, but people wont buy those products or services UNLESS they have a NEED FOR THEM!
There are of course times when we do buy things we don’t need but want – that’s when things become price sensitive and perhaps in short supply to drive the prices but most of the time we only buy things we need. That’s a subject for a different blog.
So, as our business, in whatever sector, has to offer something people need, we have to make sure that they know who we are, where to find us and why they should use us as opposed to our competition. How do we do that? Of course, we engage in various forms of Marketing – Advertising, Social Media etc., and particularly as Independent Business Owners, Networking.
Why people get it wrong
It’s no secret that I believe Networking to be one of the most effective forms of Marketing for Independents but I do see many business owners get this so wrong because they don’t understand how to do it well! How can they when no one has ever shown them how to do it properly and they are just following the lead of the other business owners, who also don’t really understand how to present themselves and their businesses effectively – a case of the blind leading the blind?
To be effective in networking, it is important that you take the time to get to know the other business owners at the meeting and build relationships with them. Some may become friends overtime but the main aim is to get to know who you resonate with, holds similar values to you and who you will be able to trust to deliver great service whenever you make a referral to them. You also have to work at building your reputation for operating to the highest standards of integrity & honesty, essential qualities in business, so that people know you can be trusted too.
It is also important that people can clearly identify what your business offers in a way that also demonstrates the benefits gained when they buy your services/products. You must clearly identify the benefits of what you offer so that people can understand that you are the person who they need to use to help them solve the problem they have. So many people simply talk about what they do, even though there are many others (& probably several at the same event too) who do what you do. Your target market needs to know what makes you different, what separates you from the others, what makes you unique and give them the reason why they should use you and not your competition.
How do you get it right?
Obviously, you can’t network without having a great 60 Second Pitch – that’s how you tell people about your business but my questions to you are:
Are you getting your Pitch right?
Are your Networking efforts giving you a good return?
No matter how long you have been in business or have been networking, it is well worth taking stock every 3-6 months and asking yourself these questions.
It is necessary to change your formats, review and change your Pitch on a regular basis. For most of us, it will be impossible to tell people about everything we do in just one short minute and of course, if you don’t talk about all aspects of your business, then how are people to ever know that these are part of what you do?
I always suggest that the 60 second pitch should be listened to by someone from outside your family or business due to the fact that there is a particular way of getting your message across that many wrong. Check out my Review Service.
You should talk about your business from the outside-in, not the inside-out. What does that mean?
Basically, as I said earlier, you must talk about the benefits of what you do, not just what you do. Think about the traditional Salesman. Whatever he is selling, he will talk about the benefits of you having whatever product it is, he will work to convince you that you really do need his product & how it will make life much easier, even if you don’t really need one. Clearly, & thankfully, we have lost that type of salesman but the principle remains the same. Demonstrate in your delivery, what makes you stand out from the other businesses in your sector to gain an advantage over them & gain the sale or at least interest to know more.
We become too comfortable in our comfort zone and consequently lose out on many new opportunities for expansion, diversification and new business contacts especially when we do the same old, same old thing all the time.
Is it time for you to shake things up a little?
Review and Change what you do - you never know where it may lead you!
If you would like some help doing this, please see my website for details of how I can help you.
As always your comments are appreciated.