Category: Marketing

What can you expect from networking?

Recently I have been talking to people who are new to networking and some of them are not sure if networking is worth doing. In case you fall into this category let me explain why I think networking is a vital part of any marketing strategy. It is true that I have always networked, both before and when I worked in the corporate world and certainly when I became self-employed. The only difference was that when I became self-employed, I realised that what I did had a name…networking.

People often seem to think that they network to get work and, while this is certainly one result of networking, it is not the only result. When you network you build relationships, people get to know what you do, and they learn to trust that you know what you are doing. If you build strong relationships your contacts will feel confident that their reputation is safe when they recommend you to one of their contacts. So when you network you meet people who almost become your salesforce. For some people this is all they think you get from networking and—certainly if they don’t immediately get work—they say that networking doesn’t work. Yes, it does, but you need to work at it.

There are other things you will get from networking. One is that you meet people who do other things that you may need in your business: accounts, IT, recruitment etc. They can supply their services to you which means you can concentrate on what you do, servicing your customers, developing new products or services etc. Networking enables you to grow your business because you are not being distracted by sorting your tax return, sorting out a bug on your computer or ensuring you have robust contracts for your staff.

You also get people around you who will support you on those days when things are not going as planned and you just need someone to talk to about it, and this may just be someone who you can use to rant to about life, challenges or whatever. I certainly have a few people who fill that category. (I usually find that the phrase “Is it me” gets said at some point! They can share some of their energy when you have none, but don’t forget that, at some point, the roles may be reversed and they may need you when their day is going the way they planned.

One final thing you may get is opportunities that come from networking. I’ve networked in a high security prison, a cinema with a tour included, been given access to parts of Stansted airport that I would not have had if I had not networked. I hope that you have been persuaded that networking is not just about getting work, it is so much more.

If you want some help with your networking let me help with a gift to you: my Top 20 Networking Tips. Just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

Why network?

Recently I was talking to a contact, let’s call him Fred, about some work his company had just started. He was really surprised, because he knew that a lot of people had gone for the work and his company was quite a small one. They could do the work, but he was surprised that he had won the work rather than one of the larger, better-known companies. I asked him how he had heard of the work and he said that a business contact had told him, and introduced him to the potential customer. My next question was “How did your contact and the potential customer know each other?”  He said that they played golf each week.

Now, assuming that his prices and service provision were similar to all the other potential suppliers there had to be something that gave him the edge. In my opinion, it was that he was connecting with someone who wanted to use his company. Why? Because someone who the potential customer knew and who he met once a week had made the connection. They probably knew each other well and they trusted each other and Fred’s contact was willing to put his reputation on the line by introducing them. That’s why he got the contract. That’s networking.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me and my business to know that I fundamentally believe in networking as a powerful marketing tool. It turns cold connections into (at least) warm connections. It puts your company in front of potential customers, even when you are not there. It puts you in front of people you might not have ever met, and it raises your profile. My question who be: Why would you not network?

If you want some networking hints and tips let me help with a gift: my Top 20 networking tips. Just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

Why keep their details, I don’t need a widget maker

Recently I was talking to a new contact about how to follow up after meeting people. Obviously, I suggested looking at their website, making contact via email, connecting on Linkedin and then I said, “and add their details to your database” He said “but what if I can’t see myself ever getting any work from them”. Then we talked about what networking is about, yes, of course, we want to increase sales but networking is also about, building relationships, helping others by making introductions, having a support system of people who may be able to be suppliers and people who may offer advice, share knowledge, listen when you need someone to listen etc. This is all achieved by the first objective, building relationships.

It is true that you may build relationships by occasionally meeting that person on an ad hoc basis at future networking events. But that means that your marketing is in the hands of others, and you need to be in control of your marketing. For this reason, I always add people to my database. Not sure about GDPR? If I give you my card or give permission by attending an online event, and they are given the option of unsubscribing then GDPR is satisfied. I then use this database to send newsletters, to answer questions such as if someone asks me if I know someone who does whatever. I use it if one if one of my Group Directors asks me if I know someone who fills a category they have available. (This is usually because members have said they would like that category filled because they know they can do business with them). It is a working part of my marketing, not just another file on my computer.

Of course, you may just decide to depend on remembering every person you ever meet networking, what they do, and what their contact details are. I can’t always do this, so I have a database and I actively use it as part of my marketing. It might be you have another system for keeping track of your contacts, if so let me know what it is, please.

Thank you for reading, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

Is it me? Am I just “Old school”… and is that a bad thing?

Recently I was talking to one of my contacts about what we wear when we are networking and let’s just say we have different styles!

I know that during lockdown some people changed their style…although I would never find that “I just got out of bed” look…or, even worse, the “I’m actually in bed just lying on top of the covers” look. I need to dress for work, and by dress, I mean make-up on, hair brushed and appropriate clothes on. In order to have full disclosure. when networking virtually I’m probably not wearing shoes, but apart from that I’m dressed as I would be if I were networking face to face. I’m representing my company and, because I want to build relationships with like-minded people, I dress smartly and by smartly, I mean business-smart. Smart casual is saved for the weekend.

The person I was discussing this with was dressed smart casual. I asked him whether he would change what he wore if he was meeting with a potential customer, a customer who would be the absolute best cherry on the cake. He said no, this is how he dressed for work. Since we know each other well I asked him “Is it me getting it wrong? Am I just a different generation? Am I old school?

He thought for a moment the he said basically “Maybe, yes and yes” That got me thinking. Do I need to rethink how I dress? One of my concerns is that if I move my style of dress for work more towards the smart casual, does that become the new norm and might it slowly move towards the casual? I believe that if I want to attract business people to me (particularly those I want to emulate) I should dress in a similar style. So my question is: Is it me? Am I just “Old school”… and is that a bad thing? For now I’m going to continue dressing as I have always dressed for work, where I feel comfortable which is not wearing “comfortable” clothes.

Whatever you are wearing as you read this, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun

Glenys

New adventures?

Well that’s it, 2021 done, cards being recycled and now looking forward to 2022.

For some, the year will come as a bit of a surprise when it comes to marketing. For others, the marketing plan is simply being continued and for others, myself included, a new year is the time I implement any new plans. Throughout any year my marketing strategy is tweaked, and during the past two years tweaking has been a process of “Flippin heck what am I going to do now?”, discussion with smarter people than me, then rapid implementation. This year may still involve some of that process: I have control of lots of things but not the challenges the world throws at me! What I can control is my response to these unexpected challenges.

So I have a strong marketing plan, and I accept that some may have better, stronger, more dynamic marketing plans than mine. That’s OK, I am a business owner and can choose what I do, how I do it and when I do it. Last September I started to seriously look at what my marketing would include in 2022 and how I would adapt if government guidelines changed. So, plan A if face-to-face meetings are allowed, and Plan B if they are not allowed. Underpinning this is marketing as usual. What has worked, what hasn’t, what needs to be changed, what needs to be increased and what needs to be ditched. Some of this decision-making is based on what I want to do and how I want to develop my business.

In 2020 I added some afternoon online networking which was always going to be online, and available free to members and available to non-members for a small fee. I really worked hard at these, honest. Then I realised that a) most of my members are breakfast people. b) this was a lot of effort for little return and, most importantly, c) this was not my core business, so I stopped. Now this may not be for ever but it is for now.

Now, 2022 will be a time for new adventures: some will succeed, some will fail and, at the moment I don’t know which one is which…isn’t that exciting?!

Want some help with your networking? Here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun

Glenys

Networking?…it’s not really working

At the beginning of the year I was talking to a business contact about why his networking seemed to have stopped being so effective. He thought it was because people felt they couldn’t spend money because we are living in uncertain times or, he said, it might be because he was not meeting people face-to-face. So we started to talk in more depth because, he said, things were really not going well and they had been going very well.

The first question I asked was, had anything changed with his marketing? Well, of course, we were no longer allowed to meet face-to-face, but I know many people who had flourished despite having to use virtual meetings. So, not being able to meet face-to-face couldn’t be the problem, or at least not all of the problem. I also know many companies who have managed to maintain, and even grow, their business throughout the difficult times we have been living through. So, there is money out there that people want, or need, to spend.

Then he said “I really don’t like networking at virtual meetings”. (I’ve paraphrased a long monologue that he needed to get off his chest about what he really didn’t like about virtual meetings). Some of the things he mentioned are covered in my blog “Would you do that if we were meeting face to face?”

The main thing that came out was that he was networking less, so he was not meeting new contacts, and he was not nurturing those contacts he had made before March 2020. So we made a plan (I love a plan). We looked at what had happened to those networking events he used to attend and, for those which had started meeting virtually, we developed a diary of events he could attend. We also looked at what events were now available virtually and added them to his diary. He decided he would start by attending two or three a week. Finally, he decided to set aside half an hour a day for getting in touch with people he had lost touch with, to renew and develop the contacts he had worked hard to nurture. He actually made a promise to himself to do all this because, as he said ”I never break a promise.”

Every couple of weeks we would have a quick catch-up telephone chat, and guess what? Money is coming in! The reason it worked? Because you have to work at networking and keep working at it, otherwise it doesn’t work.

If you want more networking tips go to: Top 20 networking tips or get in touch if you would like me to work with you to improve your networking.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

 

It all happens subliminally.

Recently I was talking to a business contact about someone we both knew. He said “Oh I’d never refer him to my contacts, he’s always late and disorganised” I was surprised since I also thought the same thing. I was interested to work out why we had come to the same conclusion but we both didn’t really know why.

We discussed it further and realised that it was based on two things:

1 Arriving late at meetings, even virtual ones!

Now, neither of us had actively thought about this individually, but both of us thought he was always late, without being able to say when he had been late, how late and how often. We just both thought he was always late, and we wouldn’t make any introductions because we assumed he’d turn up late to any meeting.

2 Not prepared.

Again, we realised that we hadn’t made a decision about this, we just thought he was ill-prepared. My contact said he never came to a meeting and seemed to have thought about the meeting. In addition, my contact had once seen him give a presentation at an event and he didn’t seem to know what was coming next…and it was his presentation! Oh, and he had turned up late!

So why is any of this important?

We need to know that we all make judgements: “Wouldn’t have put those shoes with that dress” at a base level to “Wouldn’t refer him/her to my best client” at a much more important level. The problem is that some judgements we know we are making, even if we try not to.  Some judgements we make subliminally and those are the ones that are much more difficult to deal with.

The important thing is to know that subliminally we are all being judged, and so perhaps we need to behave as if we are trying to make a first impression.

What do you think?

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

I’m too busy to network

Recently I was talking to a business contact who said she was too busy at the moment to network. It is great that her business is thriving, but I think she is wrong about thinking the right time to network is when she is not busy.

Why? Because networking takes time. It’s a slow burn and people need to get to know you before they will be prepared to trust their reputation by referring you to their contacts. If you don’t network there may be a steep downturn between busy and no work at all. You need to maintain relationships, or even start to build relationships. I know this balancing of actual work against possible work is difficult, but remember: networking can be done by email, via social media, telephone calls, virtual meetings or 1-2-1s. Networking is about starting conversations, starting to build relationships. If the past months have taught us anything, it is that face-to-face is fantastic. I can’t wait to get back to those meetings, but there are other ways that allow networking.

Also, when you network skills are learnt, maintained and improved by practice, so if you stop networking, because you’re too busy, your skills can become rusty. In addition, maintaining your networking means that you stay on people’s radar. If you stop networking people will forget you, however fabulous you are, or think you’ve gone out of business, particularly given the challenging times we have all had since March 2020.

One of the things I have noticed in this last year+ is the number of new people who are networking, either because they decided to start a business in a very difficult year or because they have started to network because they feel more confident being in their office than in a room full of people. (If this is you, make face-to-face networking easy by reading my blog “The 3-3-3 rule” https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=34 )

Why is this relevant to your decision to network or not? Because if you don’t network you will miss the opportunity to meet all these new people and that’s a fabulous opportunity missed in my opinion, because you don’t know who they know.

So—don’t leave networking for when you aren’t busy. Add some networking to your diary every day, even if it’s just a phone call as you drink your morning coffee. Find a way to maintain your presence, contacts, and relationships. Networking works, I know. I now do it for a living.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

It’s not personal.

I have a philosophy of life. You live it to the full, grabbing adventures and opportunities, laughing a lot, having excitement, and never settling for less than the best. This applies to all aspects of my life including my business. In fact, how I approach networking is that “you don’t have to be serious to be serious about business”[1].

So, what’s the problem?

Well, those people who ‘get’ me and my approach may be surprised to learn that some people don’t like my approach. I’ve been told that I’m overwhelming, I’m frivolous about networking, and that business is serious and should be treated seriously. I am happy that people feel able to voice their opinion. I also like that, as with any such feedback I receive, I can listen, think about it, and then change my behaviour, or not.

One person summed it up nicely “You’re a Marmite kind of person” I’m happy with that. Whoever we are, whatever we are like, someone won’t like us, the way we act, speak, how we dress…you get the idea. It might be that if people give us feedback they are trying to be helpful. For example, it might be they are giving advice based on how you are dressed and how the customers you are trying to attract dress.

During our lives, both personal and business, we make decisions that others may not like, approve of or support. That’s fine. Their opinion is based on their life and business experiences and their approach to life. Don’t worry, it isn’t personal. It can feel personal, but it really isn’t.

  • Potential customers say no to your product for all sorts of reasons.
  • Existing customers stop using your product for all kinds of reasons.

Think about when you decided that you didn’t want to use, or continue to use, a particular supplier…how often was that decision based on some personal reason?

You may want to reflect on any feedback they give you, and then change your product, process, system, or behaviour…or you may not. Because, whatever you decide, it’s not personal.

What do you think?

In the meantime, here’s my gift to you to help with you networking, my Top 20 networking tips .

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys


[1] Thanks to Lesley Morrisey for this strapline

Time is of the essence. Part 2

You will probably not be surprised to know that I do a lot of networking. Now, of course, networking is my only business, so I do it as business as well as for business. But I have always done networking as a major part of my marketing, whatever business I have owned. The result of all this activity is that I meet lots of wonderful people. However, I have a problem…I forget things. (Strangely this is getting worse the older I get so I think maybe my brain has reached storage capacity.)

Often this memory loss looks like this: after the event I gaze at the business card I have from someone (or in these virtual days I gaze at the chat, or at a picture on LinkedIn). (Actually, LinkedIn photos are a whole other blog) and I gaze but can I remember them, no.

I am sure I am not alone in this memory glitch syndrome, so I thought I’d share what I do when doing the obligatory follow-up*. The upshot of this reality of my life is that I have a rule, which is: if there are any outstanding follow-ups from the previous week still outstanding they always get done on a Monday. Why? Because:

  • People don’t get forgotten, and feel ignored (yes they might contact you, but they may not, and your marketing should not be dependent on other people making the best use of their networking),
  • I have a clear ‘to do’ list as I start the new week’s networking, and given the memory issue,
  • I can say “Great/good/lovely to meet you last week” and I know I have met them last week!

So, when networking and building relationships, time, for me, is really of the essence.

Need some help with your networking?

Go to: www.ebn.uk.com  and download my Top 20 Networking tips.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

* Don’t do follow ups? Go to: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=57 to find out why I think you should.