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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

It's part sales, part marketing, part branding, part market research and development.

But most of all, it's an art whose masters have made millions.

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Business Networking - "Get out there and network" versus "Get out there and strategically build networks"

In a recent radio interview I did with Boomer and the Babe in the Phoenix market, we had a passing conversation about getting out there to network.

It seems that everyone knows they should be "networking".

People are telling them they should "get out there and network".

But what does that mean?  And do you really have the time to spend "networking" if you don't know what you are doing.

Isn't time one of your most precious commodities?

I got to thinking about what I could share that would make the biggest impact for readers regarding networking - what I call network development or business development.

First of all, know your markets. If you are like me, you are looking for leverage.  Go to events, or sites where your perfect client get together.  Then it's like shooting fish in a barrel.  You can take those time tested sales skills and go to work qualifying people and setting appointments.  Don't make the mistake of trying to sell in those places.  Use your time to meet prospects and schedule appointments to get people into your sales process.

Secondly, identify the vendors who serve the same markets you do.  They are potentially a great source of business for you.  But you have got to position yourself with something to offer them as well.  The law of reciprocity demands that you bring value to the table and have something attractive for them.  It could be that you make them look good to their clients.  It could be that you offer a product or service that enhances your prospective referral partner's business or value proposition.  The key here is to know what you offer and approach them with the intention to build shared value.  Set an appointment to meet and explore how you might be able to help each other grow your respective reach and influence in your market.  Be mindful that you are potentially putting your reputation on the line by referring someone - so take time to get to know these folks.

Finally, follow up and follow through with the people you meet.

Most sales folks fail in the follow up.  A friend and mentor once said to me that "The fortune is in the follow up."  Have a system and work the system.  If you don't have a good CRM (customer relationship manager) system, get one.  Your profitability depends on it.

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth
Your Outsourced Business Development Training Partner

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