Word Warriors Public Speaking Club

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Networking! Why Should I network? What can it do for me? How exactly does it work? (Part 2)

Here is part 2 on networking and the second week for the SOCALPI newsletter. This week we will discuss what networking can do for you and delve into how exactly networking works.

Networking is probably the best thing that you can do for your business. Networking can be done before work and after work, also during work depending on your occupation or your business structure. The way networking works is real simple but for you to understand why it works, let me tell you what doesn't work!

Sending out business cards or advertising flyers for the most part does not work for most businesses. Most of these items get thrown away but still businesses spend thousands of dollars a month on this type of advertising. This may be an okay method of marketing and advertising for those with a large budget but if you have a smaller budget or want to get more bang for your buck, stay away from this method and try some of the tried and true methods. You may get one to three customers per thousand with this method, which I would say is the equivalent of "send and pray." This method of marketing and advertising plays with the law of averages and it does not do what marketing and advertising should do. Marketing and Advertising should provide a value to the person or entity you are trying to make a business relationship with.

Your goal when marketing and advertising is to provide a value to your product or service. The best way to do that is to meet and speak with someone in person. Did you know that most business meetings don't involve talking about business? The reason most people meet for a business meeting is to discuss business so why isn't business discussed? The reason that business is not discussed at a business meeting is because you and the potential business connection are trying to gain rapport and a connection that creates the 4 things you want in a business relationship. As a matter of fact, the 4 things you want in a business relationship are the same 4 things you use when selling a product or service.

The 4 things you need are talked about in many marketing and advertising books but have now been made into an acronym in an article in the latest free magazine from www.websitemagazine.com. You need to create the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action).

When you meet your potential business connection, you need to create an awareness in your business connection of you, your company and how valuable the relationship would be. You also need to be genuinely interested in whatever topic your connection is talking about. Find commonalities in what you both do, i.e. both are married, both have kids, both are from the same state, both like the same sports team or just the sport itself. You need to create a desire in your connection where he will want to meet with you again, i.e. if your connection is into sports then invite him to attend the next laker game with you, etc. Whatever you find in common with your connection, write that on the back of their business card for future discussions, i.e. how is your wife, Lucy? Did you get that problem straightened out with your son?

The hardest part of the whole meeting and connecting with another business person is creating action which would be that person feeling safe and comfortable enough to do business with you. This is the reason why quite a few business deals are made at the small town cafe or on the racquetball court. The bottom line is this: You have a product or service that your business connection needs but he wants to feel safe enough with you that he will give you his business.

Networking deals primarily with the power of paying it forward. Not every networking contact you make will bear economic fruit. Your connection may bear economic fruit to the other party or someone else and they will remember that when it comes time for one of their business contacts to ask them for a referral. Why look in the phone book when you know there is someone your contact trusts. I have seen this work over and over in my business. I am a true believer in the magic of paying it forward.

Free Marketing and Networking tip: Go to Yahoogroups or Googlegroups and join the various groups that deal with your industry. Create a powerful signature line (Use HTML coding for your website, people are lazy and want to just click on the link) like mine below:

"Raymond A. Miller, CA PI 25445
Intelligent Ops International, Inc.
Now, Selling Products to the Public Safety Industry {CLICK HERE!}
Post Office Box 718
Yucca Valley, CA 92286

Website: http://www.Intelligentops.com
Blog: http://www.socalpi.blogspot.com
Forum: http://www.allbounty.com


Every time you see someone post a question about something in your industry, post an educated answer, back it up with case law or citations where you got your answer. This person will see your information (creating an awareness), click on your website (creating an interest and increasing your traffic flow/ranking), send you an email thanking you for your reply and save you in their email list. Not only did you help that guy out but others who saw your answer see that you are knowledgeable in the industry and may hire you to assist them on their next project. This is probably the best advertising you can do and it is quick and simple!

1 comment:

John Sexton said...

Very well said Mr. Miller and very true. As a security business owner I often receive resumes from around the U.S and a few of the more hostile zones. It is amazing how often (probably 90% + of the time) a security person will look for employment but not take the time to even say "hello". Networking involves many skills, some of which include; being a good listener (some say there is a reason we were given two ears and only one mouth), being humble (you won't win over friends or clients by bragging about yourself - let the other person talk about their favourite topic - themselves). Join associations and attend industry conferences in order to let people know who you are and what you do. Do not forget either that training courses offer excellent networking opportunities. Instead of just meeting over a 90 minute lunch, you get to spend serious "face" time with other course attendees and instructors. Always put your best foot forward and represent yourself well. Remember the importance of creating a powerful first impression.