Friday, February 22, 2013
Spotlight: Jennifer Beale
Word-of-Mouth Referrals – The Fastest Way to Grow Your Business
By Jennifer Beale, editor, BizNetworkNews.com
People do business with people they trust. So when you need business,
nothing works faster than following up a warm lead passed on generously by
Sure you could make extra cold calls or start a direct mail or advertising
campaign. But even if you find someone ready to buy, before you close the
sale you still need to build a relationship.
Networking meetings are a great place to meet people face-to-face to
exchange warm leads. Each day, across the country, hundreds of networking
events take place.
IS NETWORKING A WASTE OF TIME?
Yet many experience business networking events as a big waste of time. And
given the way many people approach networking, it is.
If networking hasn’t worked well for you, here are some simple yet proven
concepts that will turn it around and drive up your sales numbers.
Those who excel at networking simply relate well with people, and anyone can
learn how. Zig Ziglar said it best: You can get everything in life you want
if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
Overall, present a great first impression. Dress business-like and be
organized with business cards and a pen, and wear a nametag. When you meet
someone, rather than recite your one-minute infomercial, start a
conversation. Ask what they do, and then tell them what you do in one or two
SELLING AT NETWORKING EVENTS
Avoid the biggest temptation and mistake made by the majority of business
networkers – trying to sell your wares. A networking meeting is a place to
connect. While it’s expected you will share what you do, trying to sell
someone you just met is impersonal.
Instead, after a brief introduction hold Ziglar’s mindset forefront and ask
people what they want more of in their life.
Here are three great questions you can memorize to start a conversation:
What do you want more of in your life?
What’s the biggest problem you have?
How can I support you best in getting what you want?
Now help them solve their problem. Maybe you are the perfect solution or
maybe it’s an associate or someone else you meet.
SHOULD YOU HAND OUT YOUR BUSINESS CARD?
When you can help, ask for their card and permission to write on it. Then
jot down when and why you will call. This makes follow up easy and shows you
are serious and professional. Next, share your problem and see if they can
help. If no connection occurs, bid farewell and meet another person.
Once you develop the mindset and some great questioning skills, literally,
you can network everywhere and anywhere. Networking meetings are good
training ground because everyone in the room expects you to talk business.
Some networking groups are open to anyone. Other groups require membership.
Most member-only groups allow you to attend once or twice to decide. Some
meetings are structured and provide time for each person to introduce them
self to everyone; other groups require you to work the room. Each group
attracts a particular demographic. Know whom you want to meet and call the
organizer ahead of time to qualify the group.
If you’re really savvy, though, you won’t prejudge. Everyone has an average
network of 250 people. When you share problems, you will both tap into your
Other great places to network include:
1) Association meetings
2) Conferences & conventions
3) Workshops and seminars
4) Social parties
5) Family get-togethers
6) Public spaces
Before you even head out, schedule time in your calendar for follow up,
preferably within two business days. After the meeting, continue building
the relationship by doing what you said you would do. When you follow up,
always conclude the phone call with next steps, and add everyone you want to
connect with into your contact management system. When you come across an
article that appeals to their interests, email it to them. Invite them to
another event. Send them leads. Stay in touch.
IT'S EASY TO STAND OUT
Remember: most people at networking events make the mistake of selling their
stuff. Instead, be a relationship builder. When people attribute getting
more of whatever – be it freedom, financial security, friendship – to you
they will want to reciprocate and give back. Then watch your success
A once shy woman turned compulsive networker, Jennifer Beale grew her Public
Relations firm from zero to six figures exclusively through business
networking. To find business networking events visit www.BizNetworkNews.com
Jennifer Beale, Publicist
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