Face-to-face networking, we all know we should be doing it, but how many of us that spend time doing it, are actually making money from it? Do you find that people are itching to learn more about your business? Do you find that people are ready to plop down money right now to get started? If not, or if you aren’t networking with these things in mind, perhaps this information can light a fire under your ass to get it done 🙂
There are some secrets to making networking work for you, folks that are doing 6 figures a year from networking can attest to the power of networking correctly. For example, Colin Sprake, the founder and owner of “Make Your Mark Training & Consulting Inc” says that he has brought in revenues of over $500,000 PERYEAR from networking… Think about that number for a minute. What could your business do with $500,000 a year in revenue?
He shared his secret for success in networking and I want to share that with you. It’s called the “W.I.N” formula, which stands for “Who are you after”, “Intention” and “Need a Message. Let’s explore what each of these mean.
Who are you after?
Networking starts by picking the right groups to go network at. If you’re in real estate, then the local knitting group is probably not going to be very beneficial for you. This may seem obvious, but make sure that you really understand WHO is going to be at the group you’re going to. Do you want wealthy clients? If so, then do not attend groups filled with startups, they are not ideal clients. The myth that non-prospects will introduce you to your ideal prospects simply isn’t true. Birds of a feather flock together, so find groups where million-dollar businesses are gathering if you want million dollar revenues.
Also, remember that every event is considered a networking event, whether is it labeled as such or not! Official networking groups, cocktail parties, seminars, trainings, business functions, universities, colleges, and trade shows are all great opportunities for you to grow your business and your income.
Think about who your ideal client is. The perfect person for your business. Create an avatar or representation of this fictional person. Identify all their traits (age, gender, location, job, time, etc..). Identify their needs (business and life). Assign your avatar a name, like “Bob” (ever notice how Bob is like the go to generic name for a person…. Wonder why that is?). Now that you know who that person is, find the groups that person is likely to join or be at. Those are the groups YOU want to be at. Here are some great places you can find networking events to help you get started:
- Chambers of commerce
- Business Networking International (LINK)
- eWomenNetwork (LINK)
- Google “Business Networking Groups in XYZ” where XYZ is your location
- Boards of trade
- Chambers of commerce
- Gala functions
- Trade shows
- Business conferences
- Industry associations
- Charity functions/fund raisers
- Political meetings
Set your intention clearly in your mind and it will be made clear in your prospects minds. If you’re there to make money and grow your business by brining in new clients. Let people know that. It makes sure they understand how you can help them and what you’re really after.
“I forever hear people say that the reason they network is to build relationships,” says Sprake. “The sad part is that’s all they get, a whole bunch of great relationships and seldom sales or new clients.”
While you can certainly build relationships, if people understand the intent of your marketing it makes it clear to them what you’re after. If you have done a great job in making business seem valuable, and taken the server approach of “how can I help you or your business” the relationships will naturally follow. However, if you only build relationships, the money doesn’t naturally follow. Don’t be afraid to let everyone know “You’re out there to build relationships and make money” as Sprake says. The problem is that “Too many people forget about the latter! Simply put, what you put out there is what you get back.” And I think he is dead on with those statements.
Need a message
The 3rd part of great networking is having a great message. Most folks tell you that you need to have a well crafted elevator pitch. Sprake disagrees with this, and I think he makes a great point. If you’re constantly saying the same pitch over and over, you aren’t leaving room for your true authentic self to come out. The true authentic YOU will always be more valued.
With that said, I don’t mean you shouldn’t know what you’re saying and how you want to say it, but let it be your voice instead of a crafted speech.
Here are some ideas for things to include in your message. Target the pains of the people around the table and how you have the solution for said pains (i.e. for them). Invite them to talk with you in more detail at a later date in order to get the solution. Think in terms of benefits not features. Sure your technology can help them achieve glocal (global local) scales by using the latest ajax applications of web 2.0 and modern high speed internet connections. That’s great… however if you tell them that your solution will allow them to reach a global market from their local office using the web to give them more free time… you are offering a benefit (time, which is also an invaluable commodity) vs features. Benefits drive more value and will help you drive more sales.
Study the make-up of your audience prior to attending an event and tailor your message to those around the table. If you’re crafting our message the way I talk about above, make sure that you have your solutions ready, because they will want to speak with you about them!
The W.I.N formula is a great way to drive more business and will allow you to see dramatic results in your business. All you need to do is simply apply it! Tell us what you think in the comments below. Share what has or hasn’t worked for you in your business networking experiences in the comments below!