The Numbers of Networking
Building relationships while hitting your goals
The numbers of networking can get misconstrued so easily. When you are doing business development you want to hit your goals and every activity you put effort into can be measured, quantified, and calculated so you know how to hit your numbers. That begs the question, is there any room for connection?
In this blog, I’m going to show you how to balance your numbers, expectations, and activities so you build a network that not only will produce results (eventually) but will also provide a new community.
Get your business cards out!
Business owners have to hand-out as many as 2000 business cards before they can see a sales increase of 2.5%.
Yes, networking means business (cards) and it’s important to have them, share them, and collect them. This doesn’t mean you go around shoving your card into everyone’s hand but instead focus on the person first. Get their card and take notes on it. The more cards you collect the better you can follow-up with your connections and can manage your pipeline. If you just give away thousands of cards and don’t collect any you’re stuck. All you have is a pile of hope, waiting for people to reach back out and that never works out well at the month-end.
In a Moo study, nearly 90% of people reported that using their business cards has led to them generating new business. If you’re intentional about the relationship you build, the information you share, and who you give your card to, passing-out your cards is an activity that can reap many rewards.
However, just because I’m a little old school, doesn’t mean you have to be. There are some really cool ways to share contact information, without a physical business card. For example, you can explore a video business card. These can usually be created by personal branding firms, such as The Face Of Chicago Business.
Adjust your strategy to the situation
About 5% to 20% of new customers come from trade shows.
Networking is a very generalized term and can include the nice gentleman you meet in the airport lounge, a bustling networking event at a bar, and even a trade show or conference. Depending on the event, your approach, strategy, and goals will be very different. If you are at a tradeshow or conference that is where you are able to be the most “salsey”. There, people are expecting to be pitched and are actively in a research and buying cycle. It’s full of prospects and when I’m at one, game on! That’s a numbers game where I’m dead set on collecting cards and counting my conversations. I’ve got goals that have been set before even stepping foot on the floor.
On the other hand, most networking situations will require more tact and patience. This is where everything hinges on the rapport you have built and the relationships you’ve cultivated. If you start treating the airport lounge like a trade show, you’re going to turn a lot of people off and develop a bad reputation. No one is going to sit next to you. The same thing happens at a local event. If you are trying to close every person you meet, very quickly no one is going to want to talk to you, no matter how sweet your deal is. For these situations, instead, measure your success by the strength of the relationships and the connections you make for other people. I’m an avid networker not just for my business, but for my friends and their businesses.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar
What part of the strategy is constant regardless of the situation? Your need to connect with people. Being memorable and the relationships you build in any of these situations will be the difference between closing a deal or getting ghosted.
It’s all about the referral:
When referred by a friend, people are 4x more likely to make a purchase.
Referred customers' LTV is 16% higher when compared to non-referred customers.
Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate
Like I mentioned, networking in social situations has less to do about finding your prospect in the room, and more about building relationships and making referrals. That’s where the magic and power of networking takes off! When someone knows you and your business and is able to refer you to those they know, your pipeline starts to explode!
“People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Jeffrey Gitomer
When you’re at an event, remember to build relationships, get to know people and give them the right tools and information so they can. But first and foremost, always be prepared to give so listen up to what the other person needs and wants. Networking is a team effort and is most effective when everyone is playing together.
40% of prospects become customers when in-person meetings take place. (Source: Fit Small Business)
During your typical 8-5, we’re overwhelmed and bombarded with messages, technology, and stress. Why then would you add to that mayhem with your sales pitch? Wouldn’t you want to find a time or place where those distractions are at bay? When you’re out networking you’re able to break through the clutter and grab that elusive attention. That’s why it’s so effective and why so much business happens through networking!
When you consider that 95% of professionals consider face to face communication vital for long term business it’s always going to be a part of how we approach business.
Networking first and foremost is about relationships. It isn’t about going to as many events as you can handle. It isn’t about shoving your card in everyone’s hand. It isn’t even about perfecting your elevator pitch. It’s about how you connect and engage with those around you.
If you’re looking for opportunities to network with others that have a similar approach, please attend a Tony P Production event and find me, Tony P. I’ll do my best to find some people you can connect with.
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