Networking is a crucial skill every entrepreneur should develop that can help you grow your business. But, many small business owners avoid networking thinking it requires schmoozing and slick selling. Successful networking is actually the opposite.
Here is what I have found to be the top three business networking mistakes. And, don’t feel bad if you’ve made any of these mistakes. Many of us have once made these same mistakes too. Let’s just focus on which one might be hurting your business and get to work on fixing them to start seeing positive results from your business networking.
Networking Mistakes #1. Using your 30 second commercial to recite a long list of all your services.
I’ve watched people’s eyes glaze over many times as they try to process the long list of services the business owner is rattling off. Here are a couple examples:
BEFORE Example 1:
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We offer: acupuncture, chiropractic care, Myofascial release, NAET, Neuro Emotional Technique, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, Reiki and yoga classes. Come in for an appointment at our offices in Anytown.”
Yikes! Most people probably don’t even know what half those things are!
How about this example:
BEFORE Example 2:
“I am a business coach. I offer personal one on one phone coaching, group coaching, training courses, mastermind programs, marketing consulting and speaking engagements. I also have a free newsletter and I offer free webinars and business coaching discovery consultations.”
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We help kids and adults recover quickly from sports injuries, back pain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and many other chronic symptoms without using pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.”
My Own AFTER Example 2:
“I am a business growth expert. I help solo entrepreneurs and small business owners recover quickly from sales slumps, scattered focus and overwhelm. I can help you create and hit the right business goals in 90 days or less.”
Networking Mistakes #2. Focusing on converting customers at networking events.
If you evaluate whether a particular networking event was a good or bad use of your time based on whether you made a sale or picked up an immediate referral you are probably focused on the wrong goal. Objectives for networking events are different than for trade shows.
First, understand It’s not your fault.
It’s only natural as a business owner to want to see immediate results from your networking efforts. After all, much of your success was due to your unbridled commitment to being results focused.
You invested several hours to attend the networking event, so of course you feel as if you should get something from your time.
Why is this a networking mistake? … Because that’s not how people buy.
Solution: Focus on making new friends not just new clients.
Since you are networking to grow your business, it might feel contrarian to NOT focus on getting new clients out of it. But, if you’re trying too hard it shows. People can feel when someone is looking at them as just their next sale.
In order for networking to be successful, you do need to connect with people. Be genuine and sincere in making new friends. That’s not to say you should be passive and avoid talking about your business at all. But, first, focus on just being yourself, and not just you the “company” or you the “sales person”.
Years ago I attended an evening networking event for coaches. I was taken aback by a woman who sharply interrupted a conversation I was having with another attendee. Without any announcement or waiting for a pause for permission she shoved a flyer in our hands and told us to sign up for her certification training today because the $2,000 price expires tomorrow.
Here are key reasons why this tactic doesn’t work:
Her sale offer was to spend $2,000 today, but $2,000 is not an impulse buy price point.
The problem wasn’t so much that she handed me a flyer. The problem was how clear she made it she was on a mission to leave with lots of sales.
There were about 80 people at the event. Instead of leaving with 1 or 2 sales, she could have easily left with 50 to 70 new subscribers, especially because this was such a targeted group of people. Over time, she could convert 25 to 45 new customers which is far more valuable to her business than the immediate 1 or 2 sales.
This is a much easier networking strategy, but it does require having a list building system.
Networking Mistakes #3. Not having a list building system.
What is a list?
This is an email list of people who are potential customers and clients who are subscribed to be on your email list.
You can not simply take the email addresses off of business cards or directories of people you met and put them on your list. That is actually against the CANSPAM laws.
Why have an email list?
You may have heard the expression, the “fortune is in the follow up.”
The problem is it’s really hard to keep up with the follow up when you’re taking the manual approach of sending one email at a time. A list building system makes follow up a cinch.
What is a list building system?
It starts with having an irresistible, free lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a free offer people receive instantly when they opt in with their email address.
You let subscribers know they will also receive more tips from you through email.
You stay top of mind and convert more clients over time when you follow up with valuable tips you deliver through your email system.
Remember, 10 new subscribers is worth far more to your business than 1 new sale.
SOLUTION: Shift your focus from getting more sales to getting a more subscribers.
It takes time to build trust and confidence. When you have a subscriber list you can scale building a relationship with your group of prospects.
Networking is one of multiple marketing tactics you need to have included in your marketing plan today. Be sure to grab my free printable MARKETING CHECKLIST to develop your winning marketing plan today.
QUESTION: Share your comments. What is getting in your way of creating a list building system for your business and networking?
It’s a scary time for everyone during Covid-19. We all know this pandemic has forced a lot of business owners to go out of business. 😢😧
If you are blessed to be among the lucky group who are NOT facing going out of business here’s a short video that shares 5 free effective ways to build your digital presence, so you can boost more visibility for your business during and after covid.
We are also offering free help, guidance, feedback, support for business owners on Tuesdays from 12noon-1pm EST on Zoom through the end of April.
Just comment below “Business Owner Public Service” and we’ll message you the link to join.
In a previous post I shared my one line response to a popular question I am often asked — “What’s your advice on achieving fast drivingbusiness growth?”
“Never try to do it alone” is always my response.
If you enjoyed reading about the 3 powerful leadership principles that helped operations manager Beth to bring out the best in her people, here are 3 more powerful leadership principles from my coachingwork with Bob.
KEY CHALLENGE: Sales Growth Stuck at 7M
One of my clients (we’ll call him Bob) is a CEO of a family run technology company focused on growing his 7 Million company into a 10 Million company. For several years he keeps plateauing at the same level.
When asked what he attributed may be the primary cause he pointed to the pattern that he continues to be the primary problem solver instead of his people being able to make swift executive decisions in their day to day work.
Observation: In visiting Bob’s company I noticed his office (and everyone else’s offices) were in an open floor plan. Bob wanted the open floor plan to let his people know he was never too high up that he was perceived as far too removed or inaccessible. He also liked the ease and convenience of being able to monitor people on the floor.
But, because of the open floor plan and Bob’s open door policy, he was bombarded with constant daily interruptions and thereby, pulled into every problem that occurred. His people can see him there, so the easiest thing for his managers to do is go straight to Bob to help them resolve their problems and/or help them make decisions quickly.
Bob’s 3 Leadership Principles That Transformed Positive Change:
A. Effective leaders must create boundaries.
B. Don’t ever forget you’re in the PEOPLE business.
C. Commit to helping your people S.O.A.R.
Actions Bob implemented:
1. Creating boundaries:
We eliminated a whopping 70% of his interruptions by Bob communicating changes to his accessibility. This might sound overly simple, but it just goes to prove how easy it is for business owners to fall into patterns of behavior when you have no one else to report to.
So, Bob posted a few weekly time slots where he could still have his open door policy, but outside of those hours each of his key people were given scheduled meeting appointments instead of the old way of allowing them to approach Bob whenever they wanted.
For the first time, Bob even started posting a “do not disturb” sign on his door (and stuck to it) which allowed him to make huge strides in working “on” his business
2. Reframing what business you’re in. Bob’s technology business took off because his knowledge, expertise and passion was in technology. But, as Marshall Goldsmith famously wrote, “what got you here, won’t get you there”.
During our coaching sessions Bob admitted he really didn’t enjoy managing people. That just wasn’t his area of expertise. But, it was his area of greatest frustration. Because he didn’t like having to manage people, he avoided holding any regular meetings with this team whenever possible.
After discussing the advantages and disadvantages of:
A. Hiring a General Manager to manage everyone for him
B. Creating more effective approaches for Bob to manage his key people or …
C. Keep doing things the same way …
Bob chose option B and began to reframe what business he was really in. And, after some practice, Bob even came to embrace it. One of the tools that helped Bob be more effective and enjoy managing people was holding weekly one on one meetings with his key staff using my simple S.O.A.R. meeting template.
3. Holding weekly 1-1 meetings to help your people S.O.A.R.
In the past, Bob tried to schedule bi-weekly meetings with his team members, but they often got postponed, cancelled and eventually avoided all together. When I asked why Bob vented he felt like he was just babysitting his employees. We discovered there was no set structure to his meetings outside of being a low level Q&A session.
I encouraged Bob to start using my simple S.O.A.R. meeting template and to commit to it for 12 weeks (12 meetings). Only 3 weeks into the challenge it didn’t surprise me how excited Bob was at seeing positive changes in his people’s performance already.
Here is the S.O.A.R. 1-1 meeting template: S = What is your SINGLE motivating purpose that is driving you this week?
O = What OBSTACLES do you need to overcome this week (month, quarter) and how do you plan on overcoming them?
A = How do you want to be held ACCOUNTABLE for key actions you will take full ownership of?
R = Recognition – What are the greatest wins you’re most proud of this week?
1. Bob’s interruptions decreased dramatically allowing him to be able to focus on CEO level tasks that were sorely needed to drive the company’s revenue growth.
2. Now that Bob embraced being in the ‘people business’ he saw his team getting faster and better at completing client projects, allowing them to handle more sales.
3. The S.O.A.R. meetings Bob instituted developed his people’s critical thinking muscles. They were able to handle higher-level tasks and decisions on their own and needed Bob’s guidance less. As a bonus, his people now use the same process to train their direct reports on developing their own critical thinking skills.
Who are the people who interrupt you the most?
What kind of boundaries do you need to create?
How effective are your 1-1 meetings with your key people?
Here’s to your success!
QUESTION: What is 1 paradigm shift that made a powerful difference in bringing out the best in your people? … Share your comments and questions below.
*This article was originally published here: https://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/driving-business-through-strong-leadership/
Sure, I have CRM system and other tools that use automations, but there’s a lot of times when it is quicker to just to fire off a bunch of emails straight from your gmail account … but then .. life gets in the way of all our good intentions, right?
That’s why I decided to add Boomerang to my follow up toolbox.
What is Boomerang?
This is not the Boomerang App used on Instagram and Facebook that takes videos and makes it repeat itself from start to end in seconds. Yep, that app has the same name as this one but just to clarify. This isn’t that app we are going to talk about.
Boomerang for gmail and outlook is an app that allows you to write an email and automatically send it later on the perfect time you scheduled it. Plus, it has a feature that will also notify you if you don’t get a reply on the email you sent and/or if the person you sent it to did not even open the email.
Having Boomerang is like having your very own executive assistant who alerts you on who to follow up on your email prospecting efforts.
Some also use Boomerang to email themselves reminders for next day, or next week, etc. It allows you to organize your inbox to prevent email overload. It is a useful and a simple tool to use that can be installed on IOS and Android smartphones too.
This can easily help you in prospecting clients because it has the capability to track responses. Unopened, unreplied emails will then boomerang back to you based on the setting you had when you sent the email.
You have the ability to set the date when it will be boomerang back at you and to varied situations stated below:
If not opened
If not clicked
If no reply
You can identify who to follow up in regards to your proposal let’s say.
How to Download and Use Boomerang for Business
Here is how to download and install it as a browser extension.
Go to Boomeranggmail.com and click INSTALL
2. A pop up will come up and click add extension. Let it run and that’s it.
If you learn better through video, here’s a good demo we found:
QUESTION: What’s a favorite productivity tool you use in your business development process?