Excerpted from the "Marketing2Moms" Self-Study e-Course written by Gina Robison-Billups, (modified for DivineCaroline.com)
The old adage goes, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” There’s a lot of truth in that. To create a sustaining business you really do need to know your business and produce results, but it’s who you know that will help your business grow.
However, people turn off a lot of potential connections due to poor networking. Here are some some simple rules to follow to create better business relationships that will either help you grow your business, make more sales, or find that dream job.
There’s a lot of pressure to bring in the sales or to sell yourself as in the case of a job search, so this can be a very hard concept for most people to understand.
You never want to have a client that feels pressured to buy either out of sympathy or friendship or just to get you out the door. They make the worst clients, and those clients get out the first chance they get. You want happy clients that are excited to do business with you. You want clients who are grateful to do business with you, and who feel you offer substantial quality and service.
You’re job as a business owner, marketer, salesperson is to help people buy what they already need or want. Your other job is to be an educator. Many times people want to buy if they just understand how the product benefits them. Sales are really quite simple if you don’t get caught up in “sales”. The hard, cold truth is that you do have to bring in sales and money for your business to succeed, but you can do it with care and compassion for your client. If you never steer a client wrong, they will keep coming back and bring friends.
Also note that you should know more about marketing to moms no matter what your business is. 64% of all female executives are moms. 44% of business owners are women with children under the age of 18, so if you think Marketing2Mom rules don’t apply to business-to-business marketing, think again. Mom is the real decider for family and work. She is also inclined to use the same service and products for both home and work. Keep that in mind when networking. If a business woman brings up her family and children in conversation that's a good sign. It means she's developing a relationship with you. It does not mean she's being unprofessional.
Common Networking Mistakes:
Mistake #1 – Talking non-stop about yourself and the hard-sell. We’ve all been there: someone comes up to you and wants to sell you on what they do. They haven’t even qualified you as a prospective candidate. You politely listen and then you may reply, “I don’t have a use for that product.” How many times after this scenario, has the person turned away, maybe without even saying a thank you. When this happens to me, I immediately take note to never refer that person for business. Because the way they just treated me is the way they will treat my friends and clients.
Don’t go for an “all or nothing” approach. This is poor networking. You might as well stay home because you won’t turn off nearly as many people that way.
Mistake #2 – Not Asking Questions. One of the first things out of my mouth when I’m in a networking environment is, “What do you do?” Sometimes, I won’t even introduce myself. I listen intently and I ask questions. I think about how I may help that person. I’m already thinking about helping them in their business, and they don’t even know my name yet! Where’s the win for me in this? If I’ve found a golden nugget in a room full of fool’s gold, then I can refer them to help my clients and make my clients happy. It serves me to help my clients.
Mistake #3 – Not Listening. People just don’t listen to each other anymore. You know when someone has asked you a question, but their eyes are glazed over and they are glancing around the room to see who they should hit next. If you’re not going to listen, don’t ask questions. Be engaged. Show authentic interest. You may not be interested personally, but maybe someone else you know would be. Listen intently so you can make an introduction to someone else.
Let’s stop here for a minute. WHY does Listening and Asking Questions benefit you?
So far, I’ve basically said, “Shut up and listen.” Why do you think that is? How many times have you met someone that didn’t fit your business needs, but because they were so nice and professional to you, you set out to bring them business every chance you got?
Listening to people and asking them questions out of genuine interest is so rare, that the person who is “pitching” you will begin to take notice. They may even be so kind as to return the favor and show genuine interest in you. Either way, showing genuine interest is the foundation for building long relationships.
Mistake #4 – Not Giving Others A Chance. If you got the opportunity to speak first about your business then please give the same opportunity to the person who asked all those questions. Even if the individual is not a potential client, remember she makes an average of 46 personal contacts a day, and she’ll either talk about you positively or negatively. What do you want her saying about you?Mistake #5 – You Don’t Ask for Referrals. This is when the old adage changes to, “It’s not just who you know. It’s who they know.” People love to help other people. It makes them feel important. You can bring in a ton of business from one person without actually ever doing business with that person. Here’s a little networking math: You meet one working mom who has no need for your product, but you create a rapport with her in spite of that. She thinks you’re great and you tell her what you need to grow you business and if she knows anyone, please refer them. She talks to an average of 46 people a day. Multiply that by 5 work days a week for 50 weeks. That’s 11,500 contacts she makes in one year. Giving her a thank you gift every time she refers business to you, inspires her to consciously help you increases your chances of a recommendation.
The Ultimate Lesson –
The ultimate lesson in networking is what you’re mom taught you when you were younger.
Kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness will always be rewarded. You get what you give.