7 Step Plan To Get Going With Networking

Written by Kevin Dervin

Whether youíre an introvert or an extrovert, feel like you haverepparttar gift of gab or just donít know how to make small talk, networking know-how is very important for your business success. There is a notion in business that I believe most of us subscribe to that says ďall things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those they know, like and trust.Ē Andrepparttar 148022 key to this is obviously being able to develop relationships.

Think of networking asrepparttar 148023 cultivation of mutually beneficial, win-win relationships. In order to be win-win, there must be GIVE and take (noticerepparttar 148024 emphasis on give). Networking shouldnít be viewed as ďeventsĒ where you go to sell your business. When effective networking is taking place,repparttar 148025 parties involved actively share ideas, information, resources, etc.

Ok, so you know that you should be networking because it is one ofrepparttar 148026 most cost-effective lead generation activities when used wisely, appropriately and professionally. But, maybe that seems easier said than done. Hereís a seven step plan to really get going with networking for your business.

1. Check out several groups to findrepparttar 148027 best chemistry and perceived value. Most groups will allow you to come and visit at least a couple of times before you have to join. Go and ask around to find out why others have joined and what value they get out of belonging.

Resistrepparttar 148028 urge to just go joinrepparttar 148029 Chamber of Commerce simply because everyone tells you thatís what you need to do. If thatís not where your target group can be found, then you might just be wasting a considerable amount of time (and money).

Iím not telling you not to joinrepparttar 148030 Chamber. Just be clear about what youíd like to get out of this or any other group. If itís to find prospective clients or referral sources, then you need to be networking where those resources can be found.

2. When you find a group or two, join and go to allrepparttar 148031 meetings you can. Donít go just once or twice expecting things to happen and then if they donít quit. Building mutually beneficial, win-win relationships will take some time.

The contacts you make need to constantly see your face and hear your message. Continual contact with others over time will open up opportunities for you to go deeper and learn more about each others thoughts, ideas and capabilities in regards to your respective businesses.

Know, like, and trust generally only happens over time. Being regular and persistent will pay off.

3. Get involved - be visible. Do as much as you can to make yourself more visible withinrepparttar 148032 organization. Volunteer to help with meetings, be on committees, or become a leader or board member.

Being involved does a couple of things for you and your business. First, youíll get more opportunities to establish connections and get to know some ofrepparttar 148033 contacts youíve made even better. Secondly,repparttar 148034 higherrepparttar 148035 visibility you have inrepparttar 148036 group,repparttar 148037 less youíll have to work to make new connections. Instead, as new people come intorepparttar 148038 group, they will likely seek you out because they view you as a leader withinrepparttar 148039 organization.

4. Keep your circles of contacts informed. Donít just assume that running in to someone once a month (or even once a week) will cause them to start doing business with you or sending it your way. You need to let them know whatís going on when youíre not at that particular group in order to inform and educate them.

Put Your Marketing To The "So What?" Test

Written by Kevin Dervin

Want to get Better at your Marketing today?

For many service business owners, marketing can be a real mystery. We don't really know exactly how it works. We're not real sure about what works best for us. And probably because of some past frustrations, we're not even sure where to start.

Most seem to at least have a notion of what's involved in marketing...a web site, Yellow Pages advertising, brochures, direct mailings, networking, seminars, trade shows, etc.

But if that's all it took, wouldn't we all be attracting enough clients?

I'm sure you've tried one or more of these things at least to some degree. And I'm sure you've had at least some successes now and again. But are you able to make it work consistently for your business?

If not, what could be going on?

First, let's agree to a definition of marketing. Here is my favorite one for small, service-based businesses:

"Marketing isrepparttar use of strategies to generate a constant supply of high-quality leads for your service business." Simple to understand and speaks directly torepparttar 148021 results we want.

OK, so doesn't this definition take us right back to what we said we already knew about marketing... a web site, Yellow Pages advertising, networking, etc.? Well maybe, but first it's important to understand why your current marketing activities aren't producing consistent results.

Put your message and materials torepparttar 148022 "So What?" test.

Start with your core marketing message. Pull out your most frequently used marketing tool and read it out loud. Put it torepparttar 148023 "So What?" test.

After you read it out loud, is it possible that your intended audience could respond with... "So What?"... "Why do I care?"... or "What's in it for me?" If your message doesn't tell your intended audience what solutions you are providing to address their issues/problems/challenges, and how it relates torepparttar 148024 benefits they'll receive from your services, then a "So What?" response is exactly what you might expect.

Messages and materials that are all about who you are andrepparttar 148025 history of your company and what services you offer and why you're so qualified to provide these services and how you partner with your clients to acheive superior results, etc. are likely to failrepparttar 148026 "So What?" test.

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