Build Your Business By Building Relationships!
You go to a networking event. You do all of the right things. You “get”more cards than you “give”. You rush back to your office and you send a follow-up email scheduling an introductory meeting. Whew … that’s done …this is definitely a client in the works.
It’s the day before the scheduled introductory meeting; you’re feeling anxious … How do I close “this sale”? What am I going to talk to this person about? I have no time for this. I’m already really busy; this networking stuff never works anyway.
You’re absolutely right! You definitely won’t get a sale at this meeting. If you are smart, you will get to learn more about this person. Bonus is, if you do it right, you might build a long-term relationship that will help you build your business.
Follow these six steps to start to build the business relationships that will help you build your business:
1. Set the stage ‘ Send an email explaining the purpose of the meeting.
- “I’m looking forward to our meeting tomorrow, learning a little more about you and your business and sharing a little about myself what we do. I’ve scheduled an hour. Hope that works for you.”
2. Research ‘ Get your facts together. There is lots of information available to you. For example, visit their:
- Website ‘ Who are their clients? What do they sell? Do they have a team?
- Linked In ‘ What is their background? Any common contacts?
- Face Book ‘ Do they have a company page or a personal page?
- Google ‘ Learn about their industry and trends, leaders and associations.
3. Decide – What do you want to come away from this meeting with? Trust me; it isn’t “the sale”. The best desired result is to – qualify them and set the next step. You did your research; you know something about this person and their industry.
- Are they a possible prospect? Connector? Supplier? Mentor? Or maybe a friend?
- Can they supply your clients with needed services?
- Do they have the same values?
- Do you even want to work with them?
4. Prepare ‘ “That’s a good question”. My grandmother always said, “You can tell an expert more by the questions they ask than by the answers they give.” Good questions show you have thought about it. You are listening. You have done your research. You are interested. From the information you have gathered, always have five really well thought out questions.
5. Manage the meeting ‘ Be intentional. You are there to make friends.
- Reiterate the purpose and scheduled time line for this meeting.
- Use your questions to learn more about the person and qualify the relationship.
- Manage the time, you want a few minutes at the end to recap the key points and get agreement on the next steps.
- Recap the key points and get agreement on the next steps.
6. Build the relationship ‘ Make them part of your Community
- Invite them to your mailing list
- Invite them to join your Linked In Community
- Follow them on Twitter
- Like them on Face Book
- Stay in touch with great and added value
- Do what you said you would do as follow-ups
Networking is a process. It will reap rewards if you do it with right intention. It’s what happens after the networking event that helps you build your business by building relationships. Remember, your fortune is in the follow-up!