Networking Tips when Peddling the Swag
Today I want to talk a bit about networking.
Networking is a critical part of growing your business, especially in such a large and competitive industry like ours. You could probably attend a networking event every night of the week if you wanted to. But what you will discover is that most of these events are a waste of your time.
I am not saying networking groups like BNI and other lead share and chamber groups are not worth, because they are, to a degree... if you know how to work it. But let's be realistic, you’re in a room surrounded by other people who are more concerned about selling THEIR stuff to YOU than hearing what you have to offer them!
I want to share some insight on how to choose networking events that will benefit your business so you can stop wasting your time. You want to “cast a net” to prospective clients.
You want to position yourself as the go-to-guy (or gal) so when your client is ready to buy you are there. You’ve already built that relationship.
Many people playing the business game will attend chamber of commerce events or go to local networking events to get the word out on what they’re offering. They are not taking a strategic approach. They are going about it blindly. They are hoping to get lucky and acquire some incoming leads.
So here’s the thing…I’m not just going to any networking event. I’m going to the networking event where my prospective buyers hang out.
I’m going to auto manufacturers events because that is a market I specialize in. Where do real estate property managers hang out? That’s where I’m going to go because they are another target market.
Go where the people (buyers) in your chosen, targeted industry go and build relationships with them!
Our business is all about relationships. When it comes time for your client to place an order, if they have a good relationship with you AND think of you as an expert in their industry, they are going to remember that and they are going to call you.
So stop wasting your time. Go directly to the source, your buyers, and network there. Here's a laundry list of ways to get engaged within your targeted industry ...
Top 5 Ways to Network with your Targeted Buyers
#1: Go to THEIR local events.
#2: Volunteer at their events or on their local Boards.
#3: Exhibit at their local or national tradeshows.
#4: Become a member of their local or national trade association.
#5: Learn their Business and become an Expert in what THEY do.
Networking is not about telling people what you do or what you are selling. It’s about building meaningful, long-term relationships based on trust. Don’t just see these people as buyers. See them as human beings, each with their own dreams and fears. How can you relate to them? How can you be of service to them?
I take the same approach when it comes to networking as I do when it comes to selling. I target niche audiences where I can build long-term, meaningful relationships. And as a result, I have been able to build client relationships that are now going on 20 years. Everyone knows building a solid book of business in this business is about long term relationships and repeat orders. This is my approach.
So get out there and start building some targeted, meaningful relationships and watch your sales skyrocket.
Thanks for taking the time to "listen" and have a good one...
Josh, aka The Swag Coach™