Identify your target market/ideal client
Identify “networking” groups where you can get in front of your target market/ideal client and find out when they meet (chamber of commerce, BNI, other networking groups in your community or neighboring communities, conferences, Toastmasters, etc.)
- Plan to attend – put it on your planner (organization/planning is half of the secret of success)
- Create a business card that serves as a lead-generation tool – 10 Tips to Creating a Client-Attracting Business Card http://yoursuccesschecklists.com/client-attraction-strategy-transform-your-business-card-into-a-client-magnet/* – to use this business card strategy effectively – and to successfully grow a list of followers/prospects – you need to have a landing page to collect names and email addresses (contact me, if you need help with that)
- Set specific goals for your networking event: – do you want to find strategic alliance partners to market to their existing clients – do you want to find new clients? – how many connections will you create (how many business cards and appointments will you get)? * – make sure to take notes on each card that you collect: record topic discussed, appointment date/time if you set one up, etc.
- Plan a few conversation starters (depending on your group)
- Have a short – 3 to 5 second – elevator pitch that you can use to answer the question “What do you do?” and memorize it. For example, “I work with small business owners who want to become more productive and increase their profits by 50% or more”
- Have a longer – 30 seconds to 2-minutes – elevator pitch that answers the follow-up question (that potentially follows your statement in point 1 above), such as “Interesting, how do you do that?” For example: “”I help struggling small business owners who want to dramatically increase their cash flow. I help them implement proven and tested strategies and tactics they need so that they can immediately generate more leads, attract more clients and make more money than they have ever made before… even in this horrible economy.”* Have 2 short elevator pitches in your “pocket” – one that you use when you stand up and introduce yourself – “Hi, my name is Jimmy Johnson – I help individuals who (describe the majorchallenge)…. by (how do you help them)… so that they can (what will the end result be); and one that you’d use when you are asked “What do you do” type questions (for both of these you can use the formula presented in this paragraph.
- Try to keep control of the conversation by YOU asking questions first – keep the questions open
ended and show genuine interest to the answers received. For example “What do you do?” “What do you hope to get out of this networking event?” (listen for clues whether they are looking for your services) “What type of people would you like to connect with – I might be able to introduce you to some of my “friends…” “How’s business these days?” (if you are a business coach, stress-management coach, or other business-related consultant/ professional, these answers can give you clues to what challenges your “prospect” faces and how you might be able to help.)
- If appropriate, give referrals (never to competitors, though – duh!, right?)
- Introduce yourself with whichever elevator pitch feels more natural (the shorter or the longer one). If during the discussion they ask what you do, then you follow the process as described in point 1 and 2. If on the other hand you did a great job and controlled the conversation by asking questions… then introduce your services after you got your prospect talking about their challenges that you can help them with.
- Ask for an appointment IF you see a clear match – that is, you see a real need for your service AND it’s likely that they can afford your service. You don’t want to waste your time or their time, if there’s no clear match.
- Once back in your office, add contact into your contact-management database, record what you talked about and any other observations you want to record; and schedule follow-up (ACT, Outlook, Infusionsoft, etc.)
- Decide whom among your new contacts do you want to develop stronger relationship and act on it (schedule meeting, lunch, send them a relevant freebie, etc.)
- Follow-up on any promises you might have made during the networking event (referrals, resources promised, etc.)
- After event, follow up with an email within 48 hours – “Hi John, it was really nice meeting you at the… I was wondering if you’d like to have lunch sometimes next week…?’
- Send out physical Thank You card to those who you met after the networking event – thanking them for their time and expressing your gratitude for the new (professional) relationship (new contact)
- Keep adding notes to your Contact Management Database on your progress with each of your new contacts
- Plan to attend the next networking event(s)
- Become a life-time student of networking, always learning how to improve this “skill” – it’s one of the most cost-effective and practical way to get new clients, so do invest time in getting really good at it.
Let me know if I left out anything – I’m always eager to learn and grow Got questions or comments? Post them below…
E.G. Sebastian is a Client-Attraction & Retention Specialist; autor of several books and a regular speaker at corporate events, retreats, etc. on topics of Customer Service, Client-Attraction, and other Marketing related topics. Access 170+ more Client-Attraction & Marketing Checklists at http://www.MarketingChecklistsPro.com