Selling, sometimes just doesn’t sell.
It’s critical to continue marketing your products and services if you want to maintain sales. But how can you do that if your marketing budget has been slashed?
A good place to start is to look at alternative strategies to complement your traditional marketing activities that are low cost and well suited to the current economic environment. Networking – that’s right… meeting, greeting, mingling and chatting! – is a cost-effective strategy that can produce a higher return on investment than you could ever realise.
Did you know that in most cases, 80% – 90% of business is done via referrals and networking. So it makes sense that there are always chances to network with someone that can help you in your business or where you can help others; whether it be sales, strategy, design, product knowledge or money saving strategies.
The reality is that many business owners at the moment are actively looking for help, support, or products to increase their performance. They may be looking for new suppliers – those who can offer a better service or price than they currently receive. They may be looking to joint-venture, create industry partnerships or establish affiliate relationships. Many may even be willing to barter in exchange for their goods and services.
You can start networking at:
- Social sporting events
- Social gatherings
- Community group meetings and events
- Educational gatherings
- Business clubs
Just remember this is a basic list and the places that you could network are unlimited.
- An outgoing attitude
- A “give before you receive” mindset
- A structured follow-up system
Don’t be one of those people that stand in the shadows and not talk to anyone or one of those people that bulldoze their way into a networking function. You need to be the relationship builder. Connect with those that will be somewhat meaningful and be generous and altruistic. Give advice and look out for referrals.
What’s the catch? There are NONE.
Having no small print will show people that you are genuine in everything you do for them. In time you will find this rewarding as the referrals come back and the sales come flooding in. If you are genuine, people will feel almost obligated to give back. This is where you know you’ve done well.
We Recommend: 5 Networking Do’s and Don’ts
- Come prepared. Look presentable, bring your business cards, name tag, card folder and some spare pens
- Remember no strings attached. “Give. Give. Give.”
- Quality over quantity – meet fewer quality contacts rather than everyone
- Always thank people for their referral
- Keep in contact with your networking contacts.
- Don’t try to sell. Build relationships at first.
- Do not sit with friends or associates. You are wasting an opportunity.
- Don’t stand in the corner waiting for people to approach you. Be pro-active.
- Don’t schedule an appoint directly before or after a networking event. Being pre-occupied by something else will make your networking activities suffer.
- Do not talk about work unless you are asked. If so, be straight to the point.