In various postings we have discussed marketing practices which are successful in building relationships and benefit all the parties involved. There are some behaviors which prevent successful relationship building and thus fail to positively market our businesses. Are we guilty of any of these practices?
Networking is the most effective form of marketing in which we can engage. It is reasonably priced, requires little time, and includes a personal aspect that is unbeatable. If we network correctly, we gain successful results; networking incorrectly guarantees us failure.
Never engage in what I term “drive-by networking”. This is the practice of attending a networking meeting once, making contacts, and never attending the group’s meetings again. Doing so brands us as those who come to a group to get what we can without making a commitment to contribute to the group’s future.
Afterward, the term also applies to the person who “milks” the people that they meet for referrals before establishing a networking relationship and providing any referrals or advice in return. We must contribute without keeping score, and we must provide for the common good of everyone. Remember karma and be of service to others first.
If we don’t like a group when we first visit, we have the right to not return for another meeting. However, we might want to attend a few meetings to see if we can help someone else with a referral or some advice. Giving before we try to get is a better practice than getting and never giving. Don’t be known as the person who milks the cow without feeding it.
We must not monopolize the time of those whom we meet at a meeting. We should chat for a short period to establish a basis to meet the person for a later, longer meeting. Then move on after telling the other person we will call to chat longer. Perhaps we can make the appointment at this time for the later meeting, but don’t have the more in-depth conversation at the networking meeting.
Collect business cards from everyone we can in order to follow up with everyone. Enter their information into your contact management system, with notes. Notes should include every phone call and meeting details. The more information that we include the better we will be in our relationship building and support of each other. Never prejudge anyone, and try to assist the other person to network better and more effectively.
Make relationship building the primary reason for contacting others, following up, and subsequent meetings. Business building will follow along after successful relationship building. Do not press business details before getting to know someone. We must know what someone else needs before we try to market what we have. If someone accuses us of wanting only to sell to them, offer to let them sell to us first.