Here’s a networking tip for when you’re out and about spreading the word about your new business, especially in group settings like Chamber of Commerce luncheons. Instead of chatting briefly with groups from other tables and exchanging business cards, ask this of each of them, “If I were talking to someone who needed your services, what should I say to them?” This gives them the opportunity to give you their 30 second commercial touting their business. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and their business. Then ask them for 10 of their business cards instead of one. Why? Because it says to them that you’re interested in networking with them, instead of just marketing to them directly, like every other sales representative they’ve ever met. It sets you apart. Then set up a private luncheon with them to get to know their business, or better yet, ask them to show you around their business.
An hour to an hour and a half of your time could result in them reciprocating by referring a ton of business your direction. How would one, two or ten new clients help your business? Plus, referred clients are more likely to refer individuals from their sphere of influence.
Sphere of influence
When you think about it, everyone has a personal sphere of influence and that could include their neighbors, friends, relatives and even leaders of businesses or organizations. When you say word of mouth is the best way to grow your business, how do you get that prospect or client to spread the word about your business? Do you throw a bunch of brochures their direction and hope they share? No, it all starts by showing an interest in THEIR business, providing solutions that help them, and above all – great customer service. You’ll never be able to reach their sphere of influence on your own. Ask them for referrals (their sphere of influence) IMMEDIATELY after the sale. They’ve just said YES to your product or service. They know, like and trust you. Take it one step further. Ask them to let the person they just referred to you know that you’ll be calling.
All sales champions know that you have to ask for the sale. The same principle applies in networking. You have to ask for the referral. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO.
Good luck in your business. Here’s to your success.
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