“All I want you to do is network and speak Odette”, said my business coach.
“Oh, yeah, but, well…what about social….” I stammered.
“Odette, you need clients, you need to make money now and the fastest way to do that is to get your
butt out the door everyday and talk to people. Everyday.”
So I took the red eye from California to Toronto and did exactly what my coach told me to do.
That was less than 3 years ago and I am still networking and speaking on a daily basis. My business has quadrupled.
I know so many of you are desperately trying to get away from that day job, trying to make enough money to make ends meet or trying to take your business past 6-figures but you are still struggling.
Why? I know for 100% certainty it’s because your networking skills suck. Your bank account does not lie.
Here are the 10 big ‘Buts’ that are getting in your way and what you can do it fix the problem, get more clients and make more money!
1. BUT I hate networking!
Why? Probably because you think that networking is selling.
- Networking isn’t selling – it’s sharing your passion~expertise~business goals.
- Let people know you exist and build relationships.
- Be more interested than interesting, ask them about their business.
2. BUT I don’t know where to go!
Why? Probably because you are not sure who you are targeting.
- Once you know who you want to talk to, find out where they hang out.
- Search in the paper, Google™ “networking” in your area, Chamber of Commerce, meetup.com, ask colleagues, friends, neighbours, people in the community, your clients, your suppliers… ask anyone!
- Now go there. Regularly and consistently.
3. BUT I don’t know what to say!
Why? Probably because you haven’t thought enough, written enough and practiced enough.
- You need to know why you are in business, who your ideal client is, and why they need you.
- Start by creating the simplest, most honest, most passionate statement possible of how the work you do helps somebody (this is your message map).
- Craft your message, your elevator pitch and practice, practice, practice…out loud!
4. BUT I am not comfortable walking into a room full of people, by myself!
Why? Probably because you think of them as a crowd, rather than a group of individuals.
- Networking is about making contact one on one, face to face, with a person, not with everyone in the room.
- Start by going to smaller events with fewer people or go with a buddy but divide and conquer.
- Talk to everyone about your business and practice asking questions and listening.
5. BUT I am not good at selling!
Why? Probably because you’ve never been properly prepared.
- Networking isn’t on-the-spot-sales. It’s about establishing relationships.
- Change the word ‘selling’ to ‘helping’ and ask yourself; “how can I help this person?”
- What do they need that I have?
6. BUT I am too shy!
Why? Probably because you haven’t practiced the art of being yourself.
- You are your most valuable asset, so do whatever it takes to build your confidence.
- People want to hear from you because you have something they need.
- Get over the shyness, because your business needs you to be strong and bold.
7. BUT no one gives me referrals!
Why? Probably because they don’t know you want them.
- The first step in getting anything is to ask for it, and prepare to return the service.
- Do you give referrals? Do you ask for referrals?
- Do you follow up – with both parties and tell people what you do?
8. BUT I am not good at following up!
Why? Probably because you don’t have a great system for keeping you on track.
- The busier you are, the more you need a system – and any system is better than none.
- Discipline yourself to follow up within 48 hours.
- Make it a priority above all else and if you don’t have time, hire an assistant.
9. BUT networking costs too much money!
Why? Probably because you haven’t explored all of the free and low-cost solutions available.
- First, stop worrying about money and start thinking about new business.
- There are free events every day near you, or create an event of your own.
- You need to spend money where it’s going to make you money.
10. BUT I don’t have time to network!
Why? Probably because you haven’t made networking a serious priority.
- It is vital to your success to organize your time and create new priorities!
- Networking is the number 1 most important thing to do in business.
- Pick the top 3 events for the week – and let nothing keep you away.