Marketing and Networking

By Christina Suter on Feb 17, 2018 at 09:26 AM in Business Issues
Marketing and Networking

Advertising in your company can be you focusing on your sales funnel, your website, social media, or a number of other things. I want to focus on networking and what you'll do when you go a networking event, and why you should attend. 

Do you avoid talking to people about your business?

There are plenty of people who can do what you do but there are plenty who don't. For those who do, you bring something to the table they can't and therefore you have the right and obligation to talk about your business and what you offer the world. If you don't tell people about your business, your business fails. 

There are three levels of sales: 1. Branding 2. Advertising 3. Sales

Networking is part of the advertising process. Networking establishes you as an expert. People get to understand that you know what you're talking about when you share about your business and that builds a trust in you. People purchase from those they trust and like. Networking can occur at rotary meetings, community affairs, clubs, industry-specific meetings, etc. Show up consistently and engage in conversation. Wear something that makes you memorable, I wear white to meetings so people remember and say, the lady in white. If I'm not wearing white, I'll introduce myself as Christina from Pasadena. A phrase like that is short and memorable so the next time people see me at an event they remember my name and where I'm from and can associate that with what I do and what my business is.

If networking or conversing isn't your thing, or if you're not an extrovert like me and talking to people makes you nervous, show up early and get comfortable. Offer to help set up, find a spot in the room and as try to get comfortable. People who come in after you are just getting themselves settled whereas you will have established yourself in the room already and had time to calm your nerves. Introduce yourself to the host and at the very least have a conversation with him or her. Try to talk to three new people during the event.

Plan to show up early or plan to stay late when you're attending an event for the sake of networking. The event itself will fill the majority of the time, so make plans to show up before it begins to chat with people, or plan to stay a little while once the event ends. Bring business cards or some way for people to get in touch with you. Have your website set up so you can direct people to it. If you don't have a website, be ready with a LinkedIn page or your social media business page. Know your 30-second explanation (your elevator speech) that includes your name, your business name, and what you do.

My tip for you as far as what to say at these events is, memorize three questions and ask them to each person you engage in conversation with.

1. What do you do in __? (life, work, for fun, etc) The goal is to get people to talk about themselves.

2. What brings you to this meeting today? What do you hope to learn?

3. What do you do when you aren't working?

You aren't trying to close a sale, you just want to get them to talk. If you lean toward introversion, these questions can help give you a conversation starter and give you answers to listen to. They may not ask you back and that's alright. Intimacy and trust are built when the other person feels like you know them, not that they know you. 

Enrollment is an idea I've borrowed from Landmark Forum Workshops that says, when you're excited about something, the person listening to you gets excited. You don't have to sell them on the details because when you're naturally excited about something other people get excited about it too.

The networking process is about making friends and sharing your excitement about your business. Networking allows people to get to see, hear, and know you.