We all know the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While this can be argued indefinitely, it’s undeniable that connections do matter.
Whether you’re leading a small business or networking to get more customers, the people you know can make a difference in your business growth. Here are a few tips about why networking is an important piece of your business development strategy having and how to do it with finesse.
Get Noticed When Networking to Get More Customers
Even in big cities, it’s not uncommon to find yourself circulating among the same set of business people. When you attend a gathering, showing up with a genuine smile, high energy and sharp attire is the first step to getting you noticed.
You should also have up-to-date business cards on hand. If you chat with someone for a little while, be sure to follow up the next day with a quick email saying you enjoyed meeting them and recapping anything business-related you discussed. You don’t want to seem pushy, but you do want to solidify your name in their minds while your face is still fresh in their memory.
If you want to be noticed in your field, there’s perhaps no better type of event to seek out than those in your local business community. Are you interested in learning how to get better at marketing your business? Head out to all the marketing-related get-togethers in your area. You never know whom you’ll meet or (better yet) who will notice you first.
Are you a personal trainer? Look for business meetings centered around the health field. There may just be future referral partners waiting to get to know you. Check out The Business Journals’ calendar to find industry events in your area.
Another upside to networking is the opportunity to ask successful people your most burning questions. In a networking setting, most business leaders are happy to oblige and will think of your Q&A like nothing more than a casual chat. Think about the areas in which you need the most help.
Maybe you’re a budding software entrepreneur who isn’t sure when to take the plunge and commit to his new venture full-time. Look for tech-related events to gain access to some of the top technology leaders in your area.
If you’re in the software industry, most states have some sort of a tech council that hosts numerous classes and events, like this one in Arizona. There are also many organizations that host regular networking events for entrepreneurs from a wide cross section of industries. In the Philadelphia area you can visit https://efgp.org/
In addition to getting advice at networking events, becoming a member in your local networking organizations can also help drive more clicks back to your website as most organizations have member directories published on their website with backlinks to their members.
Networking affairs aren’t all about you. Plenty of other savvy businesspeople carve time out of their busy schedules to share their own visions, passions, guidance and knowledge. Seminars are often a great place to go if you want to gain new skills or a deeper understanding of how to grow a successful business. The speakers at these sorts of events usually have exemplary business track records and compelling information to present.
If you want to do more networking, but you are limited on time you should consider networking online. LinkedIn is hands down, the best platform to network for business. When you know how to laser target your strategy on LinkedIn you can turn just a few minutes a day networking online to grow your list and grow your business. Get started with a free training on how to use LinkedIn for business.
Whether you’re networking in person or networking online, when it comes to growing your business we have all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
If you’re hesitant about networking, now’s the time to overcome this limiting mindset. Just remember that each individual at these events is a person too, and most of them are also looking for friendly and savvy acquaintances to make. Make sure you’re well-groomed, speak confidently and have plenty of business cards on hand. With some practice, you’ll be getting noticed, receiving advice and soaking up business wisdom in no time.
QUESTION: What is your #1 biggest challenge when it comes to attracting new clients through networking?
“Although I’ve been successfully selling $ 3 Million a year in my company’s services, I have yet to leverage Linkedin. How can I get started with Linkedin to make my selling process quicker and easier?”
— Leonard Schmidt, Senior Account Rep, Philadelphia.
Leonard, thanks for submitting your question. Even though Linkedin has been out for a long time now, there are still many business owners and sales people who have not integrated this great marketing tool. Here are my tips for you:
How to Get Started Using LinkedIn to Attract New Clients
If you’re not using Linkedin as a part of your sales & marketing strategy, you should be. With the power of social networking like Linkedin, there’s really no need anymore to have to cold call. Your batting ratio will always be depressingly lower by cold calling. Why not instead set yourself up with warm, pre-qualified strategic introductions to your target prospects?
Social networking is a great tool to leverage when you are looking to find new clients for business. But, some social networks are much more effective at helping you find new clients than others — LinkedIn for example. Unlike the odd bunch you find on Facebook, usually there to have fun and interact with their friends, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social network which people join in order to make business connections and find new opportunities in their fields of endeavour.
A brief look at the LinkedIn platform will show you people whose profiles are categorized according to:
Industries and companies where they work;
Educational institutions they attended;
Their fields of specialty and if you are registered on the LinkedIn platform:
Who they possibly know that you might know within your network as well.
Here’s 5 quick actions you can take right now to start making Linkedin work for you:
1. Join 20+ interest groups. LinkedIn also has interest groups where people from a particular field or industry or people with common business interests participate in.
Using these details, you easily find out that you have access to the following information:
People with specific positions within a company or industry;
Target market of persons and companies for your products and services;
Related industries which might be interested in products and services you have to offer;
Affinity groups in which you can network to discover new clients.
By skimming through the posts in these interest groups you can also get a good sense of what the hot topics are, so you can make your message relevant to the specific issues your group members care about the most.
2. Consider advertising options. Another useful feature, which LinkedIn offers is the ability to market to members through the use of its in-platform advertising system. With this tool, instead of bothering yourself about making direct contact with other members or sending information, which may end up not being replied to, you can easily set up an add or a series of adds and list the parameters and the demographics you want these ads to target. After this, you can simply watch the new leads and clients come in, based on the effectiveness of your advertising campaign.
3. Look for targeted live events. You can also used LinkedIn to find out which events your connections, or at least people in your industry, are attending and how to attend these events to physically network with potential new clients within your industry. You can even market your products and services at such events. Such events provide you with the direction to know where your industry is headed and potential new developments you would otherwise be unaware of.
4. Search for your ideal customers. One simple tool, which people tend to overlook on the LinkedIn platform, is the search field, where you can search for People, Groups, Companies, Jobs as well as a number of other details. I’ve listed the People, Groups and Companies aspect, because these are the most important when seeking out new clients.
You can easily put in a search term for whatever product or service you’re selling and see the companies, people or groups dedicated to those interested in the product. The number of leads you get from this search activity depends on how creative you get in seeking out search terms which People, Groups or Companies may have included as part of their information on the platform and which would be an indication that they are interested in whatever you have to offer.
5. Build your expertise. The final great tool on LinkedIn, which will help with new client sourcing through the platform, is LinkedIn Answers. It can also be accessed via the search form as well as the “More” category option on the menu bar once logged into LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn Answers requires regular participation on the platform, as it is an area where members get to ask questions and other members get to answer them.
Using this tool, you can find your area of specialty on LinkedIn and answer questions by other members regularly with the aim of becoming an authority in your area of specialty on LinkedIn. This will improve your profile ranking on the website and also introduce you to new clients, who want further information based on the answers you may have provided or your recognized expertise within that industry.
A lot of business owners have made use of this means to attract new business to their companies and profit from it immensely. In fact, I would have never gotten any of my international clients, who would have never heard about my business growth coaching practice in Philadelphia, if it wasn’t for them accessing my expertise through LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great tool for business and it goes beyond the simple listing of your personal profile and connections with people you have already done business with. Using the tips and tools offered here, you could leverage this business-oriented social network platform to provide you an ongoing supply of new clients.
About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development. Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947.
If you want more customers to grow your small business get more clicks to your website. The easiest pages to drive more clicks to your website is to focus on getting more clicks to your blog. If you don’t yet have a blog, just ask your web master to add one onto your navigation bar. Your website is an essential tool to attract, engage and convert more customers. It even works 24/7 for you, 365 days a year. The main pages in your website typically serve as a brochure that talks mostly about you and your services. Your blog however, is all about your visitor and helping them solve their challenges. Your blog is where you can showcase your expertise by sharing your knowledge, answering common questions and educating your consumers. Let’s assume you have populated your blog with lots of great, high quality content. Great content helps you to stand out among your competition. Publishing new blog articles to your website is key to helping you engage and convert new customers. But, if you are getting very little traffic there just won’t be enough visitors to convert. Here’s 5 simple strategies to helping your get more clicks to your website and blog:
1. Start with the right keyword phrase.
Choosing the right keywords is a big factor in helping you get more clicks. What most people don’t know, is when it is referred to as an SEO keyword, it can actually be a keyword phrase. As a matter of fact, you’re better off using a phrase instead of just one word. By using just one word as your keyword (also known as a vanity keyword), your search is going to be too broad and your site will get lost in the mix. By making it more specific, you will have a greater chance of showing up towards the top of the search. Not sure what keywords you should use? Start capturing the exact language your prospects and clients use when they ask you questions. Jot down your top 10 most commonly asked questions and you can pull 2 word and 3 word keyword phrases to start blogging about.
2. Brainstorm compelling headlines
A headline’s main job is to get people to click the article. If your title is boring or reads exactly the same as everyone else’s headline, it’s more than likely that person will pass your site over for the more interesting sounding one. Writing headlines is a lot easier when you know your audience. You want to know what types of words and phrases would grab their attention. Two quick tips to keep in mind when it comes to coming up with compelling headlines to help you get more clicks to your blog and website: First, people love list articles. It has been researched that headlines that use odd numbers outperform and gets more clicks than even numbered ones. Use the digit instead of writing it out. (i.e.: 7 instead of seven) If you want to get more bang out of your headline, make sure you use your keyword phrase at the beginning and also use power words, such as smart, critical, powerful, and surprising. Second tip: people are motivated by fear of loss or desire to gain. You can get more clicks to your site when your headline identifies a very specific benefit or loss.
3. Decide on a great title tag
Your title tag is how your blog post will appear in a search result. Often times, your title tag is the same as the headline for your blog article. Occasionally, you may decide to alter the title tag slightly from your blog title. Keep your title tag under 55 characters as anything longer will get cut off. To get more clicks, your title tag should include your keyword phrase. Here’s an example of one of mine where my keyword phrase was “LinkedIn Marketing Tips”. I decided on a headline that speaks to the fear of loss:
4. Get more clicks with a meta tag description that sells your content.
There is another important tag that should be utilized in your site’s optimization. Meta tags are important in search results. They add a description to the site/page under the link on the search page. When writing the your description, make sure not to mislead your readers. If it is not what was described, they will use that back button to get out of there and go to another site. Mainly, you want to use the meta tag description to your advantage as a short sales pitch. And even though you might be tempted to utilize your keyword or keyword phrase in your meta tag, don’t stuff keywords in there (use multiple times). Search engines are smart and will see exactly what you are doing. Also, make sure you keep your sentences here under 155 characters because if it goes over that character count, the description will be cut off. I like to use a free tool called “Letter Count”. It makes it fast and easy to confirm whether it’s too short or too long.
5. Choose an attention-grabbing image.
It’s important to have an image that goes along with your blog post. When you share the blog post link in your social media having an image that was published with the blog will have it appear in your network’s feed. The image helps your blog post take up more real estate than just a link. Here’s an example of how it looks on social media: Remember, people are visual, so you want to choose an image that relates to what you talk about in your blog post. Also, try to choose an image that evokes some type of emotion. Just as we spoke about earlier, people are motivated by fear of loss or desire to gain. Look for images that project the negative emotions your target audience would like to escape as well as images that convey the positive emotions they are pursuing. An image that immediately resonates with your ideal target market grabs attention and get more clicks. Start implementing these 5 simple strategies. By employing these ideas, you can start seeing more traffic coming into your blog and website. Remember, sales is first a numbers game. If you want more customers, you need to generate more leads. If you wants more leads, get more traffic to your website. If you want more traffic to your site, get more clicks to your blog. QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge or question when it comes to getting more customers from your website?
How do you stand out from the competition? What is your strategy to win new clients? Do you have one? We all know that the best prospects to focus on are the people who are already looking to hire someone like you. But, all too often when I search on the Internet for various professionals – whether I’m searching for a photographer, an electrician or a chiropractor, I see very few businesses (if any) whose message truly stands out. If you managed to land on page one on your prospects’ Google search, you can celebrate getting to first base. But, you still need to get to second base. Before you can win the customer you have to first win the click. The key in winning the click is standing out among the competition. Here are 5 simple steps you can implement today:
1. How to stand out from the competition?Communicate the outcome that your customers or prospects would like to achieve when working with you or buying from you.
It’s not enough to simply tell people your occupation or industry you’re in. If you want to stand out among the sea of sameness go further and tell people what specific problems you solve. For example, one of the members in my 6 Figure LinkedIn Secrets course is a registered dietician and nutritionist. Understandably, that’s what she wrote on her LinkedIn profile. But, what was much more effective at helping her stand out from the thousands of other nutritionists on the Internet was simply communicating the key problems she solved and who she solves it for. Her tagline now included “weight loss specialist for busy entrepreneurs”. This immediately got the attention from the right people she was looking to reach on LinkedIn. Her specific outcome message distinguished her from thousands of competitors who simply stopped at stating their occupation.
2. Offer a result based guarantee.
Offering a guarantee takes the risk out of doing business with you. At the same time, having a unique guarantee that competitors do not offer is a great way to help you stand out and differentiate. The restaurant chain, Olive Garden, offers the 45-minute pronto lunch guarantee. If your lunch is not served in 45-minutes it’s free. One of my private clients is the leading expert in sports facility construction. In their industry the standard warranties for installing running tracks are one to five years. My client differentiated among his competitors by offering an unprecedented level of protection with their ten and fifteen year warranties. This level of guarantee is truly unheard of in the sports construction industry and is one of the factors that make his business stand out. What are some guarantees you could offer that no one else in your industry would dream of doing?
3. Communicate the difference.
When I work with small business owners to help position them as the go to experts I often hear my clients ask things like, “How do I stand out when we all really do the same thing?” One dentist told me, “Teeth cleaning isn’t rocket science. I’m sure all the other dentists in town are competent at cleaning teeth.” We didn’t focus on the service. Instead, we focused on the experience – specifically, taking the fear out of the experience by making a visit to the dentist fun! He turned one of his storage closets into a small, cozy game room that fit 3 full size arcade games. Kids now loved coming to the dentist since their reward was unlimited free games in the arcade.
4. Leverage your past experience.
One of the members in a mastermind group I lead is an IP attorney. She is also a former competitive cellist. One of the niche markets she serves is the creative community. Musicians, artists and other creatives instantly bond with her because of her past experience as a trained musician herself. Although her market has access to a dozen other IP attorneys she is the clear stand out because of her past experience helps her understand the unique needs of their creative businesses.
5. Make a unique offer.
You want to put yourself in the shoes of your own customers. Imagine them trying to compare and choose between you and five of your competitors. Take a look at what others are offering. (You’ll be surprised some of your competitors aren’t making any offers!) By you making a unique offer you are helping your business stand out among your competition. A memorable unique offer I came across was of a CPA – 100% refund tax guys. Clients receive 100% refund on their tax preparation when they refer 4 new clients to the firm. Once you’ve developed a list of what makes you stand out among the competition you want to articulate that message into short sound bytes that you can use as headlines and sub headlines on your website, print brochures and business cards. For specific tips and tricks to helping you get the click from Google search results, check out this related post on “How to Get More Clicks.”
6. Get Published in a Magazine
Whatever your industry, find a magazine that caters to your businesses niche. For instance, Lawyers have Super Lawyers. Realtors have Super Agents. These magazines already have a built in audience that you can cater to. Contact them and ask about advertising or having an article written about your business.
QUESTION: How do you communicate your difference when you explain what you do? Share your elevator pitch here:
When it comes to having bad breath no one knows they have it unless someone else tells them. Bad breath can happen in your business. And, it’s hard to know you have it unless someone else tells you.
Bad breathe — bad word of mouth advertising will always destroy any good advertising. This is what I call having the bad breath syndrome in your business. Unfortunately, great marketing will never override bad word of mouth.
No amount of good advertising will convert into more customers if people have poor experiences with your business. You need to separate the two.
It’s important to incorporate improving customer experience as a part of your marketing plan, but first you have to find out where there’s bad breath.
The First Time I Discovered I Had “Bad Breath”
When I was a new business owner, I asked one of my long time customers named Joyce, to give me her feedback on a full-page ad I was running for the performing arts center I owned at the time because I thought I should have been getting more customers from it.
I was taken by surprise at her remark. Joyce told me bluntly, “Yoon, it’s not your ad. It’s your bathrooms.”
What? I asked in disbelief. What are you talking about? How are my bathrooms hurting my sales? I asked in total confusion. I have those bathrooms cleaned every week.
She went on to explain they get used everyday by hundreds of people. When they see dust bunnies on the baseboards and trash cans full the bathrooms are what mothers (who are the customers) talk about.
Not being a mom yet at the time, I remember getting angry inside listening to Joyce’s decision criteria. That’s not what you should care about! I objected, saying things like,
“But, we have world renown faculty, you won’t get at any other school! We have the largest facility. We are the only one stop shop for families. We are the only school who answers the phone every day. We have the best customer service!”
Once my pride finally melted, I realized it didn’t matter if I disagreed with her decision criteria. If sparkling bathrooms would improve their experience with my business, it seemed a no-brainer to just fix the problem.
That day I learned you’ve got to see your business through your customers’ eyes, not your own.
“What you see depends on what you’re looking for.” -Anonymous
ACTION STEP: Ask your customers / clients what would improve their experience with your business. Then, listen to your customers and fix the problem.
QUESTION: What ways do you use to discover poor customer experiences with your business? Share your tips and comments below.