Generate better business leads
As we all know, cold calling can be a very un-productive way to build your contacts and generate sales leads – especially if you’re one of the many people who are not comfortable pitching to strangers on the phone or with one foot jammed in their door. Prospects pick up on this lack of confidence and immediately get on the defensive.
A far more quantifiable and productive way to generate leads and convert prospects to clients is through networking.
Networking is more than just laughing at bad jokes
Networking is not about turning up at events, shaking hands, passing out business cards and laughing at bad jokes. And it’s not just an action you take when you want something. It’s a life skill.
Of course, events are a major part of networking. But networking also encompasses many other acts. For example, a spontaneous phone call, fax, email, thank you card or small gift to someone. It’s a kind word to a fellow worker or neighbour, even a good morning greeting to a complete stranger. And you can do anywhere, anytime.
To be a great networker you need to:
- give without expectation
- do things for others – not wanting something back
- have an abundance mentality and with this alone anything is possible
- believe in making the pie bigger for everyone. They cross-network with competitors and regularly give referrals.
- know that having a poverty mentality – where people come from fear of sharing ideas of giving information away freely – is a negative way to live.
- believe in the universal law of reciprocity – what you give out comes back ten fold in the future.
And you should consciously put it into practice at least fifteen minutes a day.
Business events are a more traditional type of networking. For many people business networking events can be an uneasy experience. But they shouldn’t be. If you really believe in your product or service, networking events offer a great opportunity to share your enthusiasm, meet others, learn more what’s going on outside your own little world and make some fantastic contacts along the way.
11 tips for feeling comfortable at networking events
- On the receipt of the invitation write “Why am I going?” and come up with an answer before you arrive. It will help you focus on the job at hand.
- Work out your logistics. Can you get there in time; do you have another function?
- What to wear – ask what the appropriate dress code is when you book.
- Arrive early and leave late.
- Be in a positive frame of mind.
- Ask if you can help at the desk- so the people who know all the right people get to know you.
- Keep your name tag on the right – it’s easier for people to glance at.
- Identify speakers of influence and ask “Do you mind if I join you?”
- Say that you specialise in (insert your unique selling proposition)
- Commit to being present – listen to the people you speak with
- Maintain eye contact with each person you talk to – don’t go looking over shoulders for more interesting targets.
If you want to generate good quality leads in a highly productive way, then brush up on your networking skills. You’ll be surprised how many more of your prospects soon become clients.