If you are in business, you are in the business of sales and customer service. At some level, you have a product or service worth connecting with potential clients or a vendor of some sort.
As a business coach I am often asked about how much time and effort should be placed on networking and marketing. And shortly after, the question of budget comes up – how much should a business spend monthly on their marketing?
The short answer is; networking efforts needs to be consistent, and you should only set a budget on marketing if you are testing initiatives – otherwise no budget. Why budget money on a marketing initiative that is already bringing in more business? If your bank was selling $100 bills for $20, would you budget how many $20 you will spend to buy those $100 bills? Only set a budget for marketing initiatives when you are unsure of there effectiveness to increase sales and grow your business, and spend as much as you can on the marketing initiatives that keeps increasing your sales.
Networking and marketing are vital to most businesses – must be done. And networking can sometimes come with mixed feelings. In general, lots of people don’t like to be sold to. We have all been to a networking event where the person at the other end of us are only talking about their products or services. Normally, at a networking event we allocate enough time to meet as many people we can. Although we don’t like to be sold to, we end up doing the same thing. “Tell me about what you do…” the infamous common networking question, followed by our title and what business we are in. Do you remember the title and type of business the person was in from each networking event? Of course not.
When it comes to meeting people; a potential client/customer or like-minded people we can do business with or who can provide a product or services to us, what we remember are the stories. For example, think about the last time you went to a movie theatre to watch a movie. Do you recall the Director of the movie? Maybe you do, but do you remember the Production Designer, the Cinematographer, Art Director, or even the Editor? Unless you are a real movie expert, most of us don’t. If you don’t actually identify the problems your clients are facing and then outline the solutions you offer to solve their problems – then folks at the other end of you at the networking event won’t remember. When we only talk about our products/services, name, titles, and business function, we are not able to create an emotional connection as they do with movies. We all remember the movies that told a story and found a way to engage us emotionally. Your potential clients want to know that you are aware of the problems and issues they face and that you have a solution to solve them. It’s often said, two thirds of us would rather spend money on a cure verses prevention. Therefore, spend most of your time talking about the cure at the networking event.
Networking should be a part of your business. It needs to be done consistently and it is a great way to master your craft of engaging others with a compelling story and elevator pitch. Either once a week, or twice a month, regardless, networking needs to be something you do on a regular basis because behind each person you meet is a network you haven’t connected with yet.
To learn more about preparing for your next networking event, read John Rampton’s article 19 Ways To ‘Kill It’ at Your Next Networking Event. It really explores the many areas worth considering before attending any networking event.
About the author: Kyle Kalloo works for Change My Life Coaching as the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Executive and Business Coach. With two decades of experience in senior management positions, Kyle Kalloo has established a robust record in Strategic Positioning & Brand Management, Operations Restructuring, Feasibility Assessment, Change Management, People Engagement, Executive Development, and the recipient of awards for Innovation & Improvement in previous roles, including companywide initiatives. Change My Life Coaching is a team of professionals who provide practical and inspiring whole-life coaching solutions that positively impact every aspect of our client’s lives, careers, and businesses. http://www.changemylifecoaching.ca