Networking - Right way and wrong way
I've discovered some things about networking. Although it CAN be VERY successful if done right, most of the time it is done wrong and the results are nearly zero, at least not worth the time that it takes.
So, here are some hints that can take your networking through the roof. Actually, a "professional marketing" person in one of my last "Building Your Coaching Business" classes hadn't been able to make her networking work....up until we changed some things. At that point she went from one so-so interested person per networking event showing interest, and less than one client in 6 months, to 5 people jumping up and down wanting to schedule an appointment from every networking event and more business than she had ever had.
Develop Your Niche Market and Powerful, Compelling Core Marketing Message
It all starts with developing your target niche market and your powerful, compelling core marketing message. Everything starts there, so if you haven't done that yet, then get that article. Email me if you haven't already received the article on how to do that. Because, once you develop that your networking results will go up 5-10 times what they are now.
Now, the other parts are where you network, and how you network.
Where you network - How You Network
Make sure that you network with your ideal niche market, or where others that also touch that market are networking. Networking just to be networking is not going to generate much.
Network where you can make a difference. Networking is all about meeting people that are in your target market, or are in contact with your target market, and where you can make an impact on them, their life, and their business. People buy only from those that know, like, and trust (they also make referrals the same way). Therefore, the people that make the most difference to them are the ones that they will go wild helping with referrals...and that should be your focus.
Chamber networking - I've learned that chambers CAN have some of the same narrow thinking as small business, some of the same thinking that destroys small business. So, finding the right chamber, or networking group is EXTREMELY important. How do you do that?
Find chambers that want to partner with you to make a difference in their members' lives and businesses. A really great way to stand out in a chamber is to partner with the chamber to offer seminars that help people and companies.
Make sure that you are on important committees in the chamber where you can help lead new seminars, or at least work with people on a volunteer basis to help them. Give them a sample and watch them jump into your shopping cart.
Going only to "networking" events without building the relationships and visibility will become an extremely inefficient way of networking. It can work better once you've developed that powerful, compelling core marketing message...but if you start with a strategy to also build relationships through committees and partnering with the chamber you'll find some pretty spectacular results....if you are in the right chamber, or networking group that feels the same way.
Some chambers can have some pretty narrow thinking. Some will limit your reach "because they can't support one member over another." Your job is to either help them overcome this thinking and make a major impact on them and their members, or move on to another chamber where you can make a difference.
Some chambers have told me that: "We tried seminars before, and no one showed up." I've found that most of the time it was a local financial planner, or CPA, or another field, that was giving a very dry SALES pitch...and no one wants to hear that, so....no the seminars didn't work. Whenever I've been given that answer, I usually point out that my seminars are "standing room only" and I'd be more than glad to help them achieve that. In fact, I will set down with my competitors and we'll all build a series of seminars that will FILL the chamber every time. (Don't worry about helping your competitors. You will be the one standing out...I guarantee it. It was your idea and your success. And, if you follow my suggestions, your seminars will be full and the others will still be just OK.) In fact, make sure that your success is seen by the top people in the chamber, and by the members of the chamber. You will become a star for doing this.
(NOTE: check out my articles on marketing seminars. If you are going to make these seminars successful then follow those seminar marketing approaches.)
Of course, there still are chambers that won't go there....in that case move on. You are in the wrong place. Some chambers, even after experiencing the successful seminars will shoot themselves, and you, in the foot. I've seen chambers that, once a coach becomes pretty visible, will say something like, "We've had complaints from other coaches that you are getting too much visibility. We have to let others have the stage." And then they had it back to those that were complaining, and the seminar attendance drops to zero. Pretty soon, the chamber will be saying, "Our seminars don't work, so we aren't going to do them anymore."
Some chamber will say, "We can't back one business over another." I'm not one for backing down. I'll stand on the value I bring to the chamber, to their members, and to the growth of the chamber I've brought to them with additional members and growing businesses, but....some are narrow thinkers...move on when you can't continue to make a difference. Look at it this way, you now have a huge track record and can do this with, or without the chamber...so move on. Your job is to find the best networking opportunity and not just accept what I call THE NORM in networking...reach further.
Business Network International -- Another really great place to network, and probably THE BEST is a BNI (Business Network International) group. The same things apply here. Make sure that your ideal target market is in that group, or someone who is working with your ideal target market. Be very selective about choosing which BNI club you join.
I have had discussions with hundreds of other coaches who have worked in BNI clubs. The discussion usually goes something like this.
Some will tell me BNI didn't work for them. When digging deeper I find that their target market wasn't in that club. Sometimes the club was made up of very small businesses who always perceived they couldn't afford the coach, and they also perceived that they didn't do business in the same economic level as the coach...sooo....it was a waste of time.
Find the RIGHT BNI Club-The MOST Successful Networking
However, by finding the RIGHT BNI club it can be one of the most successful marketing tactics you can do. I encourage you to take that way beyond what you find in that club however. When you finally find the RIGHT club, your job is to become the best leader in the club, to show that club how to grow even bigger, to show that club how to bring in bigger and bigger, and better and better companies. Join the leadership team. A really great opportunity is to become the educational director where you can show them ways to network better and to grow the club. Become a SUPER Coach by showing that club how to become a SUPER BNI club....guess what? People will beg to spend time with you, and you will be a star in the club. After all, anyone who can make this much difference in the club should be making that much difference with the clients....RIGHT?
Networking isn't just about networking and meeting a few others. It is about networking with the most powerful people you can meet, and then make the most significant impact on the club, their lives, and their business....and you will be seen as a SUPER Star coach.
Challenge everyone you meet to reach further than they've been reaching. Challenge the networking group to reach further and become greater, and lead them to that new vision...You will become a SUPER Star coach!!
Do you want to learn more about how to increase your coaching businesses?
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Alan Boyer coach's coaches, who want more business than they can handle, or at least more than they imagined...before this.....The reports have been "5-10 times more clients in just a few weeks, and still growing.Oprah Winfrey