Posts Tagged ‘networking’

What Do You Know About Networking?

Inspired by Mistake No. 20 from The Termite Effect.

Last year I taught an undergraduate small business management course at a local college. During our discussion on marketing, I innocently posed the following question, “What do you guys know about networking?” One of my students looked at me with a straight face and said, “You mean like networking computers?”

What do YOU know about networking? Is it part of your overall marketing plan or are you more like my students?

I think it is safe to say that the Holy Grail for any entrepreneur is to have 100% of their business coming from existing customers and referrals. I previously wrote about dealing with existing customer here and here so let’s take a few moments to look at how effective networking can help lead you to those precious word-of-mouth referrals.

#1 – It is said that the average person knows 250-300 people. Stop and consider this: you are two introductions away from 60,000-90,000 people. What do you think of networking now?

#2 – Think of networking as running for office. Instead of securing votes, you are securing relationships. Just like a politician running for office, you, as the owner of a business, are always on stage, always networking, always building relationships, always building your network.

#3 – Effective networking requires that you have a servant’s heart. You must be genuinely interested in helping other people in your network without immediately getting anything in return.

#4 – People do business with people they like but they do more with people they trust. Effective networking helps move people from “Like” to “Trust”.

#5 – Effective networking requires attributes that, quite frankly, most people do not possess – diligence, persistence, consistency and discipline.


All Leads Are Not Created Equally – Part II

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by Mistake #9 from The Termite Effect:

Click here to watch the video post about Mistake #9.

Hopefully I have convinced you that developing a referral-based business is a worthwhile exercise. Below is a brief discussion of how to accomplish that.

#1 – Become a Master Networker (Click here for a previous blog post about Effective Networking) 

  • Listen to your prospect. Focus on them – – NOT yourself. Ask questions. Remember, the more someone talks, the more they like you.
  • Learn about your prospect. What do they do and what do they need? Who is an ideal client or prospect for them? What makes them unique?
  • Help your prospects by connecting them to people, businesses, groups, organizations who will, in turn, help them achieve their goals. Follow Business Network International’s motto, “Giver’s Gain”. Have a servant’s heart. DO NOT ONLY BE A TAKER. You must be a GIVER before you should expect to receive. Take care of your referral partners and they will take care of you.

#2 – Build a network of referral partners who understand your target market so they can send you referrals. Define your target market as narrowly as possible. The reason you do this is because it helps your referral sources focus on who would be a good referral for you. When asked, “who would be a good referral for you?”, DO NOT say, “Anyone who . . .” You want to be very specific. For example:

  • “I am looking for an introduction to someone who owns and operates a florist shop” instead of “Anyone who owns their own business”.
  • “I am looking for a referral to a successful real estate agent in this area” instead of “I am looking for people in sales”.

#3 – Receive referrals. I know, I know! Receiving referrals is at the end of the process. Don’t forget that building a referral-based business is a long-term marketing strategy. You must augment it with short-term strategies such as traditional advertising, special offers, cold calling, direct mail, Internet, strategic alliances, etc.  |

All Leads Are Not Created Equally – Part I

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by Mistake #9 from The Termite Effect:
Click here to watch the video post about Mistake #9.

I want you to think about the sales process as an equation:

The Sale = Credibility + Price + Personality + Product / Service 

Traditional sales training teaches you that your prospect is looking for any reason to say “No”. If you lack credibility you get a “No!” Price isn’t right? “No!” Don’t like your personality? “No!” Your product or service is not exactly what they are looking for? “No!” Because of the propensity to look for “No!”, you are trained to overcome objections in order to win the sale.

Let’s talk about how you can tip the scale of this equation in your favor. Rather than spending countless hours preparing and presenting sales proposals only to find out that you were swimming upstream the whole time because the prospect never had any intention of buying what you were selling, how about building a referral-based business? Instead of evaluating HOW you sell, evaluate at TO WHOM you are selling.

The first thing I want you to do is debrief your last ten sales calls. How did you get in the door? Were they pre-qualified? Were they a warm lead? A cold call? Were they a referral? How long had you been working for the sale? Did you conduct a formal sales presentation or a casual presentation?

Next, evaluate your success rate between the leads (cold calls, pre-qualified, warm leads) and the referrals. If you are struggling with the distinction, think of a referral as someone directed TO you. In other words, someone else suggested to the prospect that they NEED to talk to YOU.

Think about how selling to referrals impacts the equation above. With a referral, you already have 25% of the equation handled – credibility! With credibility covered, you will encounter an interesting phenomenon; all other parts of the equation will receive less scrutiny from the prospect. They become less price-focused due to your credibility. They will spend less time analyzing your personality looking for reasons to say “No”. Oddly enough, your solution (the actual product or service) also becomes less important. Don’t get me wrong, just because you receive a referral does NOT mean the sale is a slam dunk but you certainly are better positioned than under any other scenario.

Building a referral-based business is the Holy Grail of sales and well worth the required time, effort and energy. We will address how to build a referral-based business in Part II of this blog.  |

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