This month has been full of networking opportunities, meeting new people and potential new clients. Many of you will have attended business networking events and have heard hundreds if not thousands of mini-pitches – you know those ones which are meant to last for 30 seconds but frequently ramble on for well over a minute (must take my referee’s whistle to the next one!)
So what pitches from last year, or even last month do you remember? What do you think it takes to be memorable? Is it brevity, or is it the language a speaker uses? And do you often find there’s a lack of congruity between someone’s pitch or presentation and how they come across in the general (and more relaxed) networking sessions. I’m not suggesting that there’s a surfeit of fake people out there – maybe they simply need to polish up their performance.
Finding New Customers
During the “general networking” sessions one listens to the concerns about Brexit, the forthcoming Budget and the apparent political instability. The economy though, looks to be in relatively good shape with employment figures at their highest ever and the unemployment rate at its lowest since 1975. Despite this there’s one issue which is almost universal and that is the difficulty in finding and securing new customers.
Why is this so? In my view, I think there’s some reluctance to push for new business and way too much reliance on word-of-mouth and existing customers giving you a testimonial or an extra order. The other potential false friend is one aspect of “social selling”. The daily tweet, Instagram photo and Facebook business page (you do have one don’t you) post, doesn’t usually result in your mobile phone ringing.
At many networking events there seems to be a plethora of people who can help you save money, time and effort which is fine as long as the savings are real and sustainable, at least for a reasonable period of time. These savings could be in the form of car sharing, discount vouchers, discount schemes or buying wholesale. One of the most popular on the networking circuit at the present time, are those inexpensive private medical health plans.
Look, there’s nothing at all wrong with keeping your operating costs down and to keep and eye out for more savings in the near future – but there is a but. If people could only sell and negotiate more effectively, I suspect that many of their worries about cash flow, business costs, personal reputation and self-doubt would disappear. “But how do I attract more potential customers” is a phrase I often hear. Working longer and harder may not be the answer.
Sell More Profitably
At a recent event organised by Laurel Leaf Networking, there was the usual mixture of professions and trades who very well represented – and like at other similar networking events, marketing leaflets, business cards and referrals were exchanged. Some of the marketing collateral was effective, some not so. And this is maybe where people go wrong. A flashy business card, or cool looking website, just like social media, will not immediately provide you with the leads you need to turn your business proposition into a viable going concern.
For networking to really work, you need to:
- Understand the business concerns of the audience
- Explain how your proposition can solve their issues and challenges
- Be different
These three areas are outlined in our workshops and mentoring programmes. Call the Sales Rainmaker team on 020 3303 3172 to find out how we can help you.