- Why should you network?
- What is the value of networking?
- Why not simply employ salesmen and that’s it.
- What is the difference, if any between networking and selling?
Selling is about identifying who in the room you can sell to. One way traffic.
Networking is about finding who in the room you can form a relationship with and help grow one another’s businesses. Symbiotic, Mutual
Networking provides the:
To work through YOUR business and profession
The difference is also in: Hunting and Farming
Hunting Depletes Farming replenishes.
Networking is all about farming
What we learn about marketing and advertising pertains to large companies with huge marketing budgets, like PZ, Unilever, Nestle, etc.
How many small businesses have N5 to N10 million set aside for marketing and advertising on an annual basis? You hardly find one. Or can you do that out of your little funds?
Would it not be better and easier to have a system by which you can have others sending you potential clients and customers who have already been qualified?
REASONS WHY BUSINESSES FAIL TO MAKE NETWORKING WORK FOR THEM
Andy Lopata 2009
1 – They’re in the wrong place at the wrong time
Many people attend networking events because they have been invited and join because they like the ‘buzz’ or see other people getting business. They give little thought, consideration or planning to the aims they have from networking and which networks best help them achieve those goals and to which they can commit.
TOP TIP - Do your research before joining networking groups. Understand what you want to gain from them and what you need to commit to them to achieve that result.
2 - They don't know what success will look like
We join networks with a vague idea that they will help our business but without planning out exactly how.
TIP - Work out the REAL cost of your networking to you, and then set yourself a challenging, yet realistic return which will justify your investment. How will you reach that return?
3 - They fail to commit
It's not enough just to join a network or plan a strategy; you have to see it through. It's an old cliché, but you really do getout what you are prepared to put in.
TOP TIP - Look at your networking memberships and goals and ask yourself what YOU have to do to get the results you are looking for. Then ask yourself how achievable it is. If it's too much, adjust your activity to make it more realistic. If it's easy, perhaps you could be doing more.
4 - They don't do their homework
"Fail to plan and you plan to fail". Before you attend a meeting, prepare for it. If you have to give a presentation, know exactly what you want to achieve from it and what you are going to say before you go.
TOP TIP - Put time in your diary each week or each month to look at forthcoming events and why you are going. Work out who you can catch up with or meet there and, if appropriate, contact people in advance to arrange to hook up. And plan any presentations you may have to give.
5 - They don't follow up their referrals
If you get a reputation for being unreliable, you won't get referrals. Whether you value the referral or not, FOLLOW IT UP. Even more importantly, make sure you feedback to the person who referred you and keep them in the loop.
TOP TIP - Keep a list to track all referrals received and latest action. If you are not responsible for following it up, make sure you know who is and get feedback from them to pass on. Most importantly, say thank you.
6 - They focus on the sale, not the relationship
Few people go to networking events to buy. So you have to ask yourself what the point is of trying to sell to people who aren't in buying mode. Think beyond the short-term gain and develop relationships. After all, wouldn't you prefer to get ten referrals from a long-term relationship than one sale from a passing contact?
TOP TIP - Go through your contact management system or business card file and pick ten people to whom you haven't spoken for a while. Re-establish contact and then stay in touch.
7 - They are '9 to 5 Networkers'
Many people believe that joining a network and either turning up to a meeting or logging in is enough. It isn't. The most successful networkers meet with their fellow members regularly OUTSIDE of meetings; whether socially or in 1-2-1 and small group meetings.
TOP TIP - Set time aside in your diary every week to meet people from your network, and make sure you fill that time. Attend your networking group's social events and get to know your fellow members even better.
8 - They are 'destructive' rather than 'constructive'
A network thrives on positive energy. If you are in a group that is struggling, use the meeting time to focus on making what you have work, keep concerns outside the meeting. If you want to contribute to blogs and discussions online, keep your comments
positive and constructive, don't destroy other people's hard work with nasty or negative comments.
TOP TIP - Focus on being positive whenever you engage in your networking. People don't want to buy from or refer to negative people. If there are problems, keep your comments positive and constructive, focusing on the solution.
9 - They are collectors
Whether it's business cards at networking events or connections online, there are people who believe that he who has the most wins the game. Networking doesn't work like that.
TOP TIP - Collect and hand out cards if your conversation dictates it. Connect online with people with whom you have something in common, and talk about them when you connect, not yourself.
10 - They don't have a clear message.
We all think that we communicate clearly what we do, but few of us do this successfully.
TOP TIP - Ask people in your network for their perception of what you do, who for and when people need your help.
HOW TO MAKE NETWORKING WORK FOR YOU
From BNI "the business referral organization" - www.bni.com
1. Adopt the "Givers Gain" approach
According to BNI Founder Dr. Ivan Misner, the law of reciprocity sets in motion in-kind responses of individuals based on the actions of others. He uses the old adage "Give and you shall receive." It means taking the focus off what you stand to gain from the networking relationship. Doing so creates bonds based on trust and friendship. By maintaining strong relationships, you retain customers and increase your business.
2. Activate the VCP Process™
VCP stands for visibility, credibility, and profitability. What you need to do in order to be visible, credible and profitable takes a certain skill set.
Make yourself "visible" by participating in networking events hosted by your local chamber of commerce, writing a regular column in your local newspaper, or involving yourself in local community work. As you become increasingly visible in your business community, you will develop credibility. People will recognize that you are here for the long haul, and you will begin to receive quality referrals.
3. Build a personal network of trust
"Credibility" means providing a high level of service in your professional field and keeping a strong line of accountability with your referrers and clients. Observe the Code of Ethics of your networking group as well as those in your own professional field. Doing so helps you build a good personal network of trust, which makes you highly referable. Any breaches in professional ethics will cost you your credibility. This will affect referral flow and slows down the multiplier; opportunities will slip away to your competitors outside your networking group.
4. Create a 'Power Team' that multiplies business opportunities
When like-minded professionals get together, more business opportunities are likely to arise and bear fruit. To see these opportunities multiply three, four, or more times will depend on whom you team up with.
Power-teaming your group is a great catalyst for the Referral Multiplier. A good example is a group comprised of an event planner, photographer, travel agent, paper products supplier, caterer, beautician, florist, and printer. When a referral to a soon-to wed couple is received by one in the group, the couple is mostly likely to be referred to others in the group.
In conclusion, the Referral Multiplier can only work efficiently and effectively if everyone in the group makes it a personal goal to harness the power of relationship marketing. It is highly dependent on the level of commitment and the strength of your networking group.
ABOUT BNI – Business Network Int’l – www.bni.com
||BNI is the largest and most successful business and professional networking organization in the world. It allows only one representative from each profession to join any of its chapters. Belonging to BNI is like having dozens of sales people working for you as each member carries your card and refers businesses to you without you having to pay them
|BNI provides a structured, supportive, business environment in which local business people can get together to network, learn valuable new marketing skills and develop relationships that lead to trust and the consequent generation of significant businesses for each other.The sole purpose of BNI is to generate more businesses for its members through qualified referral marketing.
A core principle of BNI is Givers Gain. That is as your network with the group and generate businesses this leads to more business and vice versa. This accounts for the immense of successes of BNI as the largest and most successful networking organization in the world.
There are currently over 5,600 chapters on BNI in operation with more than 135,000 members. In 2009 members of BNI passed over 6.2 million qualified business referrals which resulted in businesses worth over N438 billion. A core principle of BNI is summed in VCP. That is, Visibility leads to Credibility and this two when combined results in business Profitability.
Benefits of belonging to BNI
- Increased exposure to many other people and businesses.
- Substantially increased referrals and businesses.
- Tools to network more effectively, including an orientation CD giving the "Formula for Success" in BNI, a badge, a vinyl card holder to carry members' business cards, referral slips, marketing materials for your chapter and much, much more.
- Participation in up to 52 networking meetings per year.
- Bi-monthly newsletters with educational material on networking, public speaking, and business.
- Participation in business tradeshows (where you'll have an opportunity to market your chapter and your business).
- Free periodic workshops on networking.
- And much, much more!!!
Join A BNI Chapter - before your competitors do!
How would you like to get more business for yourself, while at the same time prevent your competitors from doing the same?
If so, BNI is for you! BNI sets up groups of business people with only one representative from each trade or profession in a group.
TO Join BNI
Visit the nearest BNI chapter to you or better still visit our websites:
www.bni.com - the international website
www.bni.eu - the European office website
www.bni-ng.com - the Nigerian office website
These groups (called chapters) meet on a regular basis for only one purpose – for the members to pass each other business. BNI trains its chapters to be extremely effective at finding business for the members. BNI operates on the principle of 'Givers Gain' – if I find business for you, you will want to find business for me.
Networking requires commitment. The most successful chapters of BNI are comprised of participants who are sincerely committed to helping one another through networking. They are a team. BNI chapters provide a positive, supportive, and structured environment for men and women to develop their business through word of mouth recommendations and networking skills.