Networking Your Way to a Win/Win

Author – Deborah Oster Pannell

Welcome to Week #3 of our Lifecycle Marketing series. Today, we’re going to wrap up our discussion about Targeting Leads with a look at the most satisfying part of the process, which is finding the people with whom you’re going to build mutually beneficial relationships, also known as Networking.

Now before you go running for the hills, (introverts, we see you!), when we say Networking, we’re really only talking about finding the right people with whom you can create the foundation for win/win situations. We’re talking about literally creating a network of people who can be useful in supporting one another’s businesses and help one another in all sorts of ways. We talking about building a circle of colleagues and friends who will help each other over time to be successful in each other’s endeavors.

Network with Confidence and Clarity 

Good networking is like good matchmaking. If you’re being really strategic about it, you’re looking for people with whom you share some common ground or common interests. Choose your networking events wisely. If you are clear about what you need, then you will make smart choices about where is best to spend your time and energy. If you’re clear about your needs as well as what you have to offer, and you can confidently articulate these things, you will eventually attract just the right people to you. You will also be receptive to hearing what others have to say that seems like a good fit for you. 

Be a Good Listener

Perhaps you’re attending a networking event, or maybe you’re just in a business or social situation where you are meeting new people. As a general rule of thumb, it’s not a great idea to only talk about yourself. Although you may have some wonderful ideas and a great business concept, it’s important to engage in some give and take with other people.

Ask questions. Be curious. Find out more about the people you’re meeting. Remember that in-depth Customer Avatar you developed? Now’s the time to put that model to work! You are looking for your ideal customers, remember? You might not meet them directly, but you could meet someone who’s in a position to connect you to them. However, if you don’t take the time to listen to what others have to say, you will never know.

Be a Generous Networker

Building on the idea of being a good listener, it’s important to focus on what you can do for others. Offering your time and energy to people is a good way to share your expertise and build good faith. Being generous is a way of demonstrating that you are a good team player, willing to do the work to build a strong collaboration or partnership. You don’t want to be someone who leads with your needs. Many people are already feeling overwhelmed and don’t want to feel like engaging with you would feel burdensome. However, if you can make someone’s life easier in some way, particularly if what you are offering is something you can afford to give freely and easily, then that could be a good start to a great relationship.

Patience is Key

Building a strong, fruitful network takes time, just as building authentic relationships of any kind takes time. It’s important to understand that networking is a process that requires the ability to see the big picture. If you’re lucky, the people you are meeting today will become your customers tomorrow, next week, or next month. But sometimes, it takes time to build trust, and you might need repeated interactions with folks for them to understand who you are and appreciate what you have to offer.

The other thing to remember is that the people you are meeting may not end up being your customers, but they may in fact be the connectors who will lead you to the folks who will. Know that if you are clear about who you are looking for and what you have to offer to them, the people you are meeting will be glad to connect you to them, particularly if you are willing to do the same thing for them.

Building an Ecosystem

You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village.” Building a business network is similar, in that it takes all sorts of people in all kinds of positions to support one another in many ways. It may not be obvious upon first meeting someone new as to how you will contribute to one another’s livelihoods, but if you approach each new meeting as an opportunity for discovery, you will find there are more possibilities than you ever expected. 

Given that the process of building a strong ecosystem has many moving parts that will evolve along different timelines, it’s important to keep track of all the contacts you are making along the way. Having a marketing automation system like KEAP can help you track and monitor your relationships as they develop and move them forward easily to the next level of engagement. 

Be Open to New Possibilities

Building your business is exciting, particularly if you are passionate about the products or services you offer. Creating a strong network is central to the success of this business, and the process of building new relationships will open you up to new possibilities that will take you in all sorts of unexpected directions. If you are clear about where you eventually want to end up, enjoy the ride. If you are still discovering where it is you want to go, pay attention to what you learn along the way, and allow yourself to gain clarity as you move forward. 

The whole idea behind Lifecycle Marketing is that the process of building a business does not have to be chaotic. With a strong, organized system for TargetingAttracting, and Capturing leads, small businesses can work on building multiple relationships at various stages of development to create a profitable client base. To learn more about how KEAP can help you manage the marketing process for your business, click HERE.

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