Introduction to Networking

The word conjures up all sorts of interesting pictures. Men in recliners smoking cigars and making deals in back rooms. MLM dealers cheering at training sessions and trying to recruit everyone who comes within 3 feet of them when they’re done. Even computer wizards doing arcane things behind the scenes to make your Internet connection work. We will focus on introduction for networking for small business in this post.

 

Networking is about connections. For your purposes in business, it’s making connections that bring you customers.

 

A couple of basic working definitions are in order.

 

Contact

 

A person with whom you have developed, or are developing, an ongoing relationship of trust and mutual respect, SPECIFICALLY REGARDING BUSINESS MATTERS.

 

Referral

 

The recommendation of a business to a person who knows the prospective customer well enough to have developed some level of established trust. Someone telling a friend or business acquaintance to do business with you based on their confidence in your ability to do the job well.

 

Networking

 

Consciously developing contacts in an effort to increase the number of referrals you get for your business.

 

 

Networking, in the business sense, is nothing more complicated than working out ways to get other people to send you business, based on word of mouth or direct introduction.

 

Networking is the single most cost efficient form of advertising you can plan for. Yes, you may get some, or even a lot, of referrals without making a conscious effort at it. You’ll get a lot more if you pay attention to the process.

 

It not only leads to more business, but it usually means better business. If a customer always pays their bills and never gives you hassles, do you think they’re liable to send someone your way that is a deadbeat and a trouble customer ? Not often. The two types don’t usually mix, and when they do, the good customer will normally value the relationship too much to jeopardize it with unnecessary bad referrals.

 

Cold Calling – A basic guide

During a cold call, you have just 30 seconds to interest a potential customer in what you’ve got to offer. Luckily, in just a few minutes you can learn some basic tips for improving your cold call success.

•     Firstly, think about how you come across. Enthusiasm and an articulate approach are crucial in cold calling. Don’t be pushy. Instead, listen carefully and respond to what the customer says.

•     Before picking up the phone, plan the timing of your call. For example, ask receptionists about busy periods and good times to ring. Most people are more responsive to calls made in the morning.

•     Once you’ve got through to the right person, introduce yourself and state the reason for your call. Try taking your cue from the customer. If he or she seems busy or impatient, ask if there’s a better time to speak. Otherwise, find out how long the customer has, and be ready to keep your call short.

•     Now’s the time to give a brief description of your product or service. Stress the key benefit your product has for this particular customer. You can then ask if the customer is interested in what you’ve said so far. If so, congratulations — you’re well on the way to making a sale. If not, try to find out why. Your call may be more welcome six months down the line.

 

Getting the Sale

Do you purchase a new product or service the first time you see or hear of it?  I doubt it.  In fact, it’s highly unlikely that you ever purchase a new product the very first time you hear about it.

 And yet that’s exactly what a majority of all salespeople actually expect!

 Based on studies over the past 50 years, we know that:

 ***  A majority of sales people make one call, and never come back.

 ***  Only 25% of salespeople will call a second time to offer additional information, or to follow-up.

 ***  Less than 10% of salespeople will call on a prospect 5 or more times, and yet these are the people that make over 80% of all the commissions!

 The statistics change slightly from one study to the next, but the principle holds true in  very industry, and from year to year, around the world.  In sales, persistence pays!

 How does this apply to professionals and those who are less focused on direct sales, like therapists, Chiropractors, coaches, attorneys and accountants?  I think it means maintaining the same office, participating in community organizations, and showing up at Chamber of Commerce or other meetings.  It means participating.  It means consistency.  It means persistence!

 People buy familiar “brands”, whether that’s a recognized brand of automobile, or a professional who has become a recognized and familiar face at the health club or my house of worship. 

 To build your professional practice or expand your sales, show up!  Get involved, meet people where they are, participate in the things that interest them, and be generous.  Be consistent — TIP’s is vastly more effective as a sales  instrument now than even a year ago, simply based on repetition and familiarity.

 Use that principle to build your business, increase your sales, and make more money.