How to Network and Generate Leads without Making Cold Calls
I’m going to share with you a networking strategy that gets results, saves you time, money, and will have you Focused on relationships that will generate you more business.
If you are a business owner or in sales, you know that there is a lot of time spent networking. Unfortunately, if not done correctly you’ll wind up spending a lot of valuable time networking with the wrong people over and over and not getting any results. Trust me, I know, because I did this with no results.
Networking, if done correctly, is extremely valuable in bringing in new business. And it’s the best type of business because it’s referral business. Which oftentimes that means your sales cycle is shorter, you have less competition, and your close ratio is typically higher with referral business.
Networking is about building relationships that generate business for you and the people you are networking with.
The strategy I’m going to share with you works for both online networking and live face to face networking events. If you are involved in an organized networking group then you can apply this model to make sure you are getting the most out of your membership with the group.
First, a little about human nature and why networking is valuable for business.
People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. Think about it. Would you rather do business with someone you know or someone you don’t know? Would you be more likely to refer someone you know or someone you don’t know? It’s human nature that we like to do business with people we know, like and trust.
Networking is about developing relationships that build the know, like, and trust factor with people that are connecting with your potential customers or clients.
The problem is, most people don’t know how to network properly. Yeah, they may attend a lot of networking events and have a lot of connections but that doesn’t mean they have properly networked and established relationships that will generate business.
Here’s what I recommend to my clients. Do not meet with anyone for coffee, breakfast or lunch, unless you know how they play into your plan. Your time is extremely valuable and a 30-minute chat over coffee is at least 90 minutes out of your day when you consider drive time.
To network properly requires a plan and requires consistent effort to build a team of referral partners that together you will feed business to each other.
Put an end to your useless networking meetings that suck your time and go nowhere by following this simple model. You’ll get more out of networking, you’ll make a greater impact, and you’ll get more business for you and the people you network with.
Step 1: Identify who your ideal customer or client is. Get as specific as you can. Really get to know who your customers are on a deeper level. What Industry are they in, what do they like and don’t like, where do they socialize with other people like them? Knowing with absolute clarity who your ideal clients are, is the foundation for your sales and marketing message, and who you are going to network with to develop referral partners.
Once you identify who your ideal customer or client is, create a networking diagram. Place in the middle of this diagram your ideal customer. Get specific with title and industry and geographic area if it applies.
Download my business networking template: https://thefocusguy.com/business-networking-diagram/
Step 2: Think about the other companies and people within the industry that are reaching out to your same ideal customer or client. Who are they? What is their role? Don’t list the name of the person yet. Right now, be thinking about the various business categories or types of people. For example, If you wanted to reach business owners with revenue between $5M-$50M. Who else is connecting with these people? CPA’s, accountants, bookkeepers, commercial insurance agents, payroll companies, commercial real estate brokers, business bankers, equipment leasing agents, lawyers, marketing & branding consultants, and benefit providers. The list goes on.
In the diagram in the smaller circles surrounding your ideal customer write in the type of people or business categories that are connecting with your customer. This gives you a visual that you can see on paper the business categories or type of people you need to connect with.
Step 3: Take this diagram and for each category group go through your current contact database, LinkedIn, and your other Social Media accounts, and identify at least 3 people in each category you can network with. This will give you somewhere between 15 to 30 referral partners. Focus on building strong relationships with these people. These are the people you invest your valuable time with. You meet for coffee, one-on-one, or as a group. Get to know them and their business so you can be proactive and refer them business. Really get to know each other and develop the know, like, and trust factor. These are the people you take care of and they will take care of you and refer you business.
Now you are a highly-focused networking individual. Stop going to all the useless networking meetings that are robbing you of your valuable time. Be a professional networker and relationship builder, not a professional network meeting attendee.
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Have an awesome day!
Mike Brenhaug – The Focus Guy – Business and Sales Coach for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, and Sales Professionals