Once business owners have grasped the concept that they must market their products and services to attract customers they must then select the most lucrative marketing mix. Options include traditional advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio and television as well as numerous online possibilities such as electronic direct marketing (EDM), websites, Facebook blogs, LinkedIn articles and others too numerous to mention. Each has its place and each can be effective if executed effectively.
Well before the printing press and even before Bill Gates was a twinkle in his father’s eye, another marketing method existed. Networking. It didn’t have that name and nor was an abundance of information on the topic available yet it used to yield results as it was based on a very simple concept – get other people to say good things about you.
These days, many small business owners are attracted to networking as an effective form of marketing their businesses. One of the main reasons it’s proven so popular is due to the return on investment. BNI, Business in Heels, Chambers of Commerce and various other organisations offer their members access to systems and events that regularly yield referrals resulting in business for not much outlay. However, to make this happen on a consistent basis, members need to know and practice the basics of networking.
Many believe networking is an innate skill we all possess because we are social creatures. Yeah… no. The simple fact of the matter is some individuals are not suited to networking as a marketing strategy for their business. For the rest of us, there are many trainable strategies that will accelerate a return on investment for a business owner if they will take the time to learn them and put them into practice.
The prize all networkers seek is a referral. This is remarkably different from a lead which has a very low conversion rate. Indeed, if a referral is canvassed properly, the receiver doesn’t have to do any selling. Nada! Why? Because the person setting up the referral has done it all for them. That’s why the conversion rate is better than a lead. When someone receives a lead, it means a prospect has indicated an interest in a product or service and the business owner must meet with them and sell. When a referral is received the prospect is ready to buy. That’s a huge difference and it demonstrates the value of the initial point – getting other people to say good things about you.
As mentioned, there is a plethora of information about networking available to help business owners hone their skills for this lucrative form of marketing. Essentially, it all boils down to this…
If your mother instilled in you a willingness to help others, the ability to listen intently and a fondness for personal hygiene then chances are networking could form a beneficial component of your overall business marketing mix.
Over 65% of new business comes from referral. New York Times
Over 80% of new jobs come from networking ABC
The richest people in the world look for and are building Networks. Everybody else is looking for Work. Robert Kiyosaki
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