SMB Networking Sales Tips

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

Work it Baby - Working Your Networking!

by Kirsty Dunphey

1. Stay in regular contact with your database. That's one of the reasons I send out emails like my weekly newsletter. In my opinion, there's no point having a database unless they're receiving something (relevant!) from you regularly. It doesn't have to be every week - find out what works for you and always make sure you're asking permission before sending people anything.

2. Remember special dates. Make it a goal this week to get at least two special dates out of someone you network with. It may be getting all the children's birthdays of your employees, it may be getting all your workmates anniversaries -- anything, so that you can diarize and make someone feel special and remembered. Be creative. Our landlords provide their birthdates as security on their management agreements. We then also use that to send out a little gift on their birthdays - sometimes I'll also ask the question "My husband thinks he's not going to remember our wedding anniversary. Does yours?"

3. Don't freak out if you get scared walking into a crowded room full of strangers! It's not just the extroverts that can network like crazy. Work out how to network to best play up your strengths. For example, personalized hand written cards are always a winner. People keep a handwritten card. (I've seen some up to eight years old that I've sent!)

4. Remember little details. The most special moments for me are when someone remembers something small I've told them like a doctor's appointment and remembers to ask how it went, or when someone forwards me a newspaper article on a topic they know I'm interested in.

5. Be a bit wacky. People network with people in ordinary ways every single day. Why not surprise someone! Send out a $1 lottery scratch ticket with all your work related Christmas cards this year. It will only marginally increase your cost, but imagine the word of mouth if someone wins $50 or $5,000! Because I get swamped with cards mid/late December, I always send my cards out mid/late November so they arrive early -- make yours stand out. I just read of a woman who bought a used limousine to drive her real estate clients around -- now that's an experience I would remember!

6. Systemize your networking so that it's hassle free. For me, diary notes pop up to remind me to send this email, to do my birthdays and anniversaries monthly, and to send out my database newsletter. Without those reminders, I'm sure this email wouldn't go out regularly like it does.

7. Network up. Find the most successful person in your industry or chosen career path and offer to take them out to lunch. Then ask them tons of questions. At one stage, they weren't even in your industry. What did they do to get started? Questions, questions, questions.

8. Give someone else business to get business from them. If you refer a client to your chiropractor and leave them some cards, they'll feel more obliged to refer you a client. If you send your accountant a new client, they'll surely be more likely to recommend you when someone says they need someone in your industry. Tap into the law of reciprocity and you'll see how it works amazingly well.