How to network effectively

– Posted in: Business, Marketing

I started networking about a year ago and I saw a formula in a networking brochure:

Understanding + Trust = Referrals.

Networking is about socialising and developing relationships. Once a person understands what you do, and trusts you, they are likely to help one of their ‘networking buddies’ (who needs your service) by giving them your name.

The difficulty I had, to begin with, was that I did not have an ‘Audio Logo’. This is a sentences that gives people enough information to know ‘what you do’ and can be a starting point for a conversation. It contains the following four sections:

I help [target market]
who [challenge/problem they face]
do [solution you provide]
so they can [results/outcomes you help them achieve].

For example:
“I help students who want to have a career in complementary health care do individually tailored training programmes so they can contribute to their clients and build their own businesses.”

If you have more time, you could use an “elevator presentation”, or marketing pitch. This needs to have clarity, credibility and relevance. The following 7-point marketing structure covers the key messages that you need to communicate. This could be just the key information, delivered in a minute or a 10-minute presentation with lots of detail.

1. With whom do you work? Who is your target market?
• People want to know that you are talking to them or have a message for someone they know

2. What problem do they have?
• People want to know what is in it for them.
• If a person has a problem or a requirement that you can define they will believe what you have to say will be relevant.
• What is their situation?
• What specifically is their problem?
• Importantly, what are the implications in the cost of time and money that the problem causes?

3. Why are you credible? What makes you the expert?
• Your offer needs to be believable.
• You need to be credible.
• What experience, knowledge of skill do you have that gives you the ability to solve their problem?

4. What process do you use?
• What can people expect if they buy your service of product?

5. What are the results (that solve their problems)?
• What specifically will they experience
• What emotional rewards will they feel

6. What success stories do you have?
• People love stories so have a couple of them prepared.
• What was their situation?
• What specifically was their problem?
• What were the implications in the cost of time and money that the problem caused?
• How did you solve their problem? What were the results?

7. Lastly, as call to action (booking a conversation)
• Ask for their business card
• Ask when they would like to meet.

I have a mind map template available that contains a structured introduction the 7 points, and an ordered summary, if anyone would like one.

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