Leverage the power of networking events

Networking is, without a doubt, one of the best and most cost-effective ways to build long-term relationships with prospects and referrers. With remarkable networking, you also build a super powerful sales force that will work tirelessly for you to spread the word about your business and services. Their referrals hold more weight than you might know.

Remember, EVERYONE you speak with is a potential client, referrer, center of influence, or joint project partner. Once you start viewing each person you meet as one of these assets, it becomes easier and easier to talk. Donít be shy ñ speak from your heart about what you do. Itís what you believe in, so speak with passion. Get out there and TOOT your horn! Why keep yourself a secret?

Here are several things you can do to stay in front of your prospects:

1. Go to Targeted Events: Join associations and groups where you can rub elbows with your prospects in large numbers. Attend these regularly. Plug meeting times into your calendar for the entire year. You have to show up to networking groups consistently and persistently to build relationships. Keep in mind that you are building relationships with clients for the long haul. People are mulling it over. Just keep reminding them how remarkable you are, and eventually they will do business with you or refer an associate.

2. Get Business Cards: A lot of people think their objective is to pass out business cards like mad. So, they run around an event, throwing their cards in front of people and sprinting onward to the next table. A much more effective ñ and enjoyable ñ approach to networking is to ask other people for their cards. Business cards are connections to people, and networking is about building relationships. If you end up with 5 cards from people you really connected with, you are better off than handing your card to 20 people who probably threw it away anyway.

3. Make an Impact: When you are asked, ‘So, what do you do?’ make an impact. Develop a unique marketing message that explains the solutions you offer to your target audience. Remember, this person may be a potential client or might refer your next DREAM client.

4. Take Notes: When you return to your table or during the next break, write a note on the back of the business cards you just collected to cue you about the conversation. This will help you remember more about the person later.

5. Follow Up: Make sure to send people you met a friendly e-mail. You can use the notes on the back of their business cards to add a personal touch to each e-mail you send. If appropriate, a phone call or a hand-written note is an even better touch. Then, continue to keep in touch in the future.

Networking events can be an amazing addition to your marketing repertoire. Make sure you are leveraging them to their FULL potential. By following the tips above, you will fill your contact database with amazing people, and youíll be astounded by the added impact these powerful relationships will bring you. Some may be new clients, and some may be your best source of referrals.

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