While we live in a world where we can leverage online advertising to attract clients and customers, one of the most overlooked methods of growing a business is face to face networking. Networking face to face has several advantages over online advertising with the primary one being personal relationships.
For instance, if you were looking for a recommendation on where to have dinner at, would you make your decision based off of an ad you see online, or a personal review from a friend? It would be rare for anyone to trust an ad over the personal recommendation of a friend. Why is that? It’s simple, trust! When you have a personal relationship established with an individual there is an inherent level of trust shared between both parties. Without this level of trust, there would be no basis for the relationship. Your initial goal when networking is to build this trust within your networking groups. So how do you build trust with someone you’ve met while networking?
Start With Value
If you want to build rapport with the people that you meet through networking, your goal should be to provide value first and foremost. The reason for providing value first is quite simple, your goal is to not sell the person sitting across from you, it is to be referred to their sphere of influence. Think about it for a moment. Which would you rather have, a single sale to the person that is in front of you, or to be referred to their sphere of influence that contains over 250 people who could utilize your products or services.
The only way to get access to this sphere is to provide value first. So what does providing value look like? It will all depend on exactly what your products and services are. However there is a key component that is common to all business types. Education! Instead of telling people what you can do for their business, educate them on ways that they can experience the benefits of what you provide to your clients. As an example, if you were a Chiropractor, you can focus in on how treatments can help an individual have better workouts.
When you are explaining the value you provide, you have to make it personal to the individual you are talking with. If you speaking to people in general, then you are missing an opportunity to truly build a relationship with someone.
Make It About Them
If you’ve ever read How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie , you would have learned that everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. Your goal besides providing value first, is to make the conversation about the person you are meeting with. So what does this look like? Instead of telling a person what you do for people, show them what you do for your clients. For instance, walk people through the process you utilize with new clients so they understand exactly what you do for someone. This will create a stronger impression with them about who you are, and they can see exactly how you interact with people. This is an important step, because the impression you leave with them will determine if they recommend you to their sphere of influence or not.
Lastly, it is imperative that you follow up with the people you meet with. Remember that most sales occur between the 5th and 12th points of contact, so if you only talk with someone once, you are leaving money on the table. So right now, how many times are you following up with people after you meet with them?