Wednesday, January 21, 2009

networking - what it's all about

i have networking woes and not because i don't like to network.  

i'm a social critter and curious by nature and am interested in just about anything.  i belong to twitter, a really cool networking site where you can follow posters you find interesting.  i was following this guy who was discussing some neat science when i got a sweet little message from him... "why are you following me?  you haven't tried to sell me anything.  most unusual".  it made me laugh at first then realize what a terrible reputation small business has made for itself!

networking is about selling the people you network with on your business, not your products or services.  networking contacts are business buddies not a pool of customers.  i'll say it again because i feel so strongly about it - sell your business, not your products/services while networking.

develop an elevator speech - meaning a 30 second synopsis of what your company does and how it can benefit others.  (benefits are the reasons people buy eg. security, time-saving, confidence building)  this is what you offer when networking with others.  

think of networking from a shopper's point of view, not a seller's point of view.  learn about your networking buddies, really listen to what they have to say, store their skills and experience to refer to later on.  you're collecting people to use per se and they're collecting you.  do your job and promote your company well and you'll have others recommending you to their other networking buddies based on the skills and knowledge you've displayed. 

this will work a lot better than hard-selling in this type of situation.  you'll meet some very interesting people you can pull into your circle to benefit from and find yourself quite popular.

so please, don't hard-sell under any circumstances at networking events.  like spam, it just turns people off.  be alluring in your comments, make people want to see what you're about then hit them with your prepared 30 second elevator speech.  far more effective and every one's happier.  


Gillianbeads said...

Great blog post are absolutely right about selling your business! Nice insight!

High On Craft said...

I couldn't agree more. What a super blog you've got here Bliss. So informative. Keep it up!!

mchen said...

This is one of the toughest and most delicate skills to develop as an entrepreneur! Good food for thought :)