I recently moved to a new area and in the process I have found A new marketing passion for my business networking. The idea of networking can take on different forms. I break them up into three different categories.
Business to Business Networking
Lifestyle Networking: Walking through your day with purpose and vision. Always have a plan or look for opportunities to bring up your business or product whether you are chatting with a teller, a clerk, a receptionist, or sitting on the soccer field. Take your product and business wherever you go.
Because I am in the candle business I keep my candles product/business info in the car and have them ready to go at a moments notice. A scent sample attached to a business card is a sure conversation starter as you open your purse up and let the great scent waft into the air.
In-House Networking: Maximizing your marketing opportunities in your place of employment and with your close circle of friends and family.
While this type of networking may seem limiting because your audience is limited, establishing a referral program helps capitalize on this avenue. Put a plan in place that rewards those who refer others to you. I offer a free votive and votive holder to anyone that refers a customer or prospect to me. Others may offer a $5 – $10 Starbucks gift card. Be creative. Everyone likes to receive something FREE.
The third networking venue, and my personal favorite, is Business-to-Business Networking. Creating and Building relationships with other business minded individuals.
Business-to-Busniess Networking focuses more on what you, the networker can do for the “prospect” in terms completely unrelated to your business or product.
The idea is to leverage yourself. Connecting with the right network marketing team helps you maximize the use of your time and dollar..
When marketing you need to decide whom you are going to market too. The right audience means the desired sells and revenue you seek.
Business-to-Business Networking is not merely about exchanging cards and few laughs over dinner, it’s about looking for ways to help each other grow together. As one national networking group has coined, “Givers Gain!”
Always, keep in mind that although the person you are talking to might not be your target client, you can never be sure what fifty people they know. Truly talking about your business can make the difference in creating a thriving business.
When answering the question “What do you do?” Do not start an hour-long conversation about the meat and potatoes of your job and start relaying a grocery list of your skills and capabilities. Rather, talk about giving them something to be interested in talking about and something to make them spread the word about you. When looking for that interesting factor, think back to when you first started your business. What excited you and drew you to start this business? What makes you stand out from the crowd and makes others excited to hear about your business?
Provide a hook or a reason for potential clients to remember you and your business. Give them a reason to ask more. What makes you stand out from others like you? Ask a question that will provoke an emotion. This will enable the person to think of you every time that emotion is felt. For example, ask “Have you ever been frustrated after purchasing a candle that smells great on the shelf but as soon as you get home and light it the scent is gone after the first burn? Or perhaps the wick drowns only after a couple burns?” I am a distributor for a gourmet candle company that has developed an incredible candle that fills the house with its’ unbelievable scents from the first to the last burn. Our jar candle has two wicks which allow it to burn evenly.” The next time they burn a candle, they will think about you.