Today I want to share with you my 15-point power networking-checklist.
Networking is one of the most misused, under-used, and perhaps even misunderstood life coaching client-enrollment strategies. However, the fact is, Networking is also one of the most effective ways to get paying clients in the shortest time when you do it right.
I’ll share with you my networking checklist that helps me come home from every networking event with at least a dozen leads for my coaching or speaking business.
I broke up these 15 strategies into 3 areas:
- What to Do Before the Networking Event – How to prepare for each of your networking events
- What to Do During the Event – What to say, what not to say, how to identify your ideal clients, and more…
- What to Do After the Event – What to do after each event in order to maximize your networking efforts and convert many of your leads into paying clients OR into referral sources.
So let’s jump into it!
Before the Event
Here are a few tips to follow Before you start attending your first networking event:
Here are a few tips to follow Before you start attending your first networking event:
1. Identify your target market/ideal client
2. Identify “networking” groups
Search for local networking groups where you can get in front of your target market/ideal client and find out when they meet (chamber of commerce, BNI, other networking groups in your community or neighboring communities, conferences, associations, Toastmasters, Rotary Clubs, etc.)
Plan to attend – put it on your planner, with (several) reminders!
(being organized and planning is half of the secret to your success)
3. Create a business card that serves as a lead-generation tool!
(See my article on 10-Steps to Creating a Lead-Generating & Client-Attracting Business Card)
To use this business card strategy effectively and to successfully grow a list of followers/prospects, you need to have a landing page with a powerful offer that speaks directly to your ideal client. This will allow you to collect names and email addresses and develop a business relationship with your prospective clients (contact me, if you need help with setting up your landing page, or modifying your website home-page to serve this purpose)
4. Set specific goals for your networking event
What is your specific goal for attending the event?
Do you want to find strategic alliance partners to market to their existing clients or do you want to connect with potential new clients?
How many new connections will you create (how many business cards and appointments will you collect during the networking event)? *** Make sure to take notes on the back of each card that you collect: record the topic discussed, appointment date/time if you set one up, etc. Otherwise (if you are anything like me), most cards will be meaningless when you look at them a few days later.
5. Plan a few conversation starters
Have a short – 3 to 5 second – “teaser” elevator pitch that you can use to answer the question “What do you do?” and memorize it. For example, “I work with small business owners who want to become more productive and increase their profits by 50% or more"; or "I help overwhelmed managers increase their performance and feel in control of their time."
Also, have a longer – 30 seconds to 1-minute – elevator pitch that answers the follow-up question your prospect might ask in response to your short elevator pitch. After they hear your short (teaser) elevator pitch, they might say, “Interesting, how do you do that?” And if this is your ideal client - after hearing your pitch - they might be the one who'll want to set up an appointment with you, or want to continue the conversation in some form (invite you for lunch, golf, etc.)
Have 2 or 3 short elevator pitches in your “pocket” – one that you use when you stand up and introduce yourself – “Hi, my name is Jimmy Johnson – I help individuals who (describe the major challenge, frustration, or burning need)... and how you help them resolve that need; another one that you’d use when you are asked the “What do you do” type question; and one for when you are asked the "Wow, that sounds really cool - tell me more!" type statement (Click HERE if you need instructions on how to create the two main types of Elevator Pitches)
At the Event
6. Plan to stay in control of the conversation
(at least the start of the conversation)
Try to be the first asking questions – Keep the questions open-ended and show genuine interest in the answers you receive. For example, ask “What do you do?” “What do you like most about your job?” “What do you find most challenging in your job/industry/ business?” “What do you hope to get out of this networking event?” “What type of people would you like to connect with – I might be able to introduce you to some of my “friends…” “How’s business these days?”
*** Make sure you listen for clues whether they might need your services
7. Introduce yourself with your short elevator pitch
Now that you know what they do, you can share your short elevator pitch - or your "one-liner" intro. If they show interest, then you can share with them your longer (prepared) elevator pitch.
If you did a great job and controlled the conversation by asking questions, then you can tweak your elevator pitch to fit their exact needs. In my case, for example, if I'm talking to a manager who mentioned that at times it's challenging to get the team to work together, my elevator pitch will morph to "I help small to medium size organization teams increase their performance" -- or if they complained that ever since they got promoted to management position they are too stressed, I might say "I work with managers who want to become more effective at leading their teams."
While the above approach might seem disingenuous to some, the above examples are both areas that I absolutely love to coach in and I consider myself an "expert." If someone would complain about their accounting or techno stuff being a mess, I will not say "Oh, how cool, I specialize in that...!"
In fact, I'd like to warn general Life Coaches who believe they can coach anyone, be cautious, and don't offer your coaching to everyone, regardless of their needs. Many professionals will pay you your full fee, but they also expect that you have an understanding of their challenges, not just help them come up with their own answers.
8. Ask for an appointment
IF you see a good match, ask for an appointment. You don’t want to waste your time or their time if there’s no good match. Stay focused on setting up appointments with people who are likely to hire you.
9. Become Known as a Connector – Give referrals
If you know of someone who might be a good fit for the business of the person you connected with, introduce them to each other. Become known as someone who builds connections – someone to whom people can come for support.
After the Event
10. Use a CRM
Once back in your office, add all the contact info you collected into your contact-management database.
Record what you talked about and any other observations you want to record; and schedule your follow-up (ZohoCRM, Insightly, AgileCRM, etc.)
11. Sort your new contacts into A, B, C, and D type contacts.
Decide whom among your new contacts are most likely to hire you OR you believe are a good source of referral and plan to develop a relationship. Schedule a time to meet, lunch, send them a relevant freebie, and plan other ways to strengthen your relationship (before inviting them to be your client or before you ask for a referral).
To be most efficient with your time, sort your new leads based on how likely they are to hire you (you can probably do this during the even too - add an A, B, etc. to the card).
An "A" lead would mean that they are really likely they'd hire you - they expressed strong interest; "B" would be someone who might possibly hire you - they expressed slight interest. I'd mark as a "D" someone who most likely would NOT hire me.
Focus your time in contacting "A and B leads" and while I'd still follow up with C and D leads, I'd NOT offer them a complimentary session unless I'm completely out of A and B leads. (and YES, you'll find at times that some of the C and D leads will surprise you and hire you - so don't completely chuck 'em!). Many add the C and D leads to an autoresponder and automate their follow-up. Make sure to do it in a way that it comes across as most personal (if you decide to do this, the email should look plain and as if it came directly from you - start by greeting them, using their name - your autoresponder will add their name there).
Contact each new connection with an email within 24 (to 48) hours. For example, “Hi John, it was really nice meeting you at the xyz event. I was wondering if you’d like to have lunch (coffee/tee/etc.) sometime next week…?"
“Hi John, it was really nice meeting you at the xyz event. I'd love to learn more about your business and see you in action. When would it be a good time to visit you sometime next week…?"
Invite to meet anyone who you feel is a good match to become your client or who might be well connected and could serve as a referral source for your business.
Keep adding notes to your Contact Management Database on your progress with each of your new contact (if you are unsure about what a contact-management software is, do a Google search or contact me for more info)
13. Send out physical Thank You cards
One of the coolest things you can do - and something that these days will surprise some and is more likely to "open doors for you" is to send out a physical "Thank You" or "Great to Meet" you card to those who you met during an event. Needless to say, you should do this primarily to your A and B leads (see 11 above).
14. Plan to attend the next networking event(s)
Find out what other networking events are coming up in your area, and if your ideal clients will be there, plan to attend (put it on your planner). Contact the people you connected with during your last event, and ask them what networking events they know of, and ask them if they'll attend.
15. Become a life-time student of networking
Commit to learning how to improve your networking skills – it’s one of the most cost-effective and practical ways to get new clients, so do invest time in getting really good at it. As you network, notice what some of the most successful networkers do (I, for example, noticed that the most successful networkers, they volunteer free give-away gifts during events; they volunteer to serve as MC or other capacities during - OR between - events; they volunteer on the committees organizing the events; etc.
Apply religiously the above 15 points and you’ll become a pro at networking in no time. Once you start applying this, it’d be really great to hear some of your success stories – you can share them below, in our LinkedIn group, (where you can also ask questions about networking best practices or ask any other marketing-related questions).
Need Help Implementing These Strategies?
If you need more ideas, or if you want to read more details on how to implement some of the above, visit our blog at www.ClientsEnrollmentFunnels.com/blog where you’ll find more ways to grow your list and ways to market to your list members. And if you join ClientsEnrollmentFunnels as a member, you’ll get access to Checklists and Tutorial Videos, with step-by-step instructions, with topics ranging from Social Media Marketing (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, FB, Youtube, etc.) to tech stuff tutorials (how to build a website; zapier integrations; how to use cPanel, etc.); and more importantly, you’ll get ongoing personal support.
It is not enough to study and just blindly implement these strategies. Often to get good results, it helps to be able to discuss it with someone who knows how to implement them correctly.
If you sign up, commit to implementing ONE or TWO Strategies to work on this week… If it gets you new clients, I'd love to hear your success story!
Author, Speaker, Coach
E.G. Sebastian, a veteran entrepreneur of 20+ years, is the founder of ClientsEnrollmentFunnels and myCoachingCenter and is an international speaker (speaks 6 languages). E.G. specializes primarily in helping coaches, consultants, speakers, authors, and service-business owners put in place all the elements needed to business success, with a focus on helping clients automate a large part of their marketing, get massive visibility for their business, and convert that visibility into paying clients.
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