Into every life some rain must fall and accordingly into every
successful business arena some networking must occur. I can hear
some of you out there already saying, "My business is doing
great and I don't Network"!
Whether you realize it or not, you probably network almost every
day of your life to one extent or the other. It could be handing
out your business card, mentioning your company or web site, or
just talking about your work in passing to friends or associates.
Some of us are a bit more proactive about networking and I'm
sure every owner has his or her own plan and procedures that
they follow. This is good. Consistency in almost everything is
admirable, but in networking it is crucial.
For those of you breaking into business and still trying to get
a hold on everything, here are a few steps to think about and
maybe, just maybe help you down the "networking road of life".
Make a List.
This list should be of every person who would have a good
opinion of your product or service. Include anyone you have ever
done business with that could be "potential customers". Friends,
your family's friends, groups, organizations and yes even your
relatives. This is what you would call your "A" List.
Now, you will also want to recruit new potential clients to your
network. There are many ways to gather new potential clients
depending on many circumstances, such as your business, budget,
media availability, time investment and so much more. You will
always need to be creative and hardworking when it comes to
getting new names in your network list. This first-timer's list
will be your "B" list.
What to Send?
You must then decide what information you want to give them and
what you want from them. Be sure that you give them some
information about your company (background), the product (how it
will benefit them), the promotion or offer (main reason for your
contact) and don't forget the most important; let them know what
to do to repsond to your contact.
A "qualified prospect" has already opened the door for probable
sales. This prospect "SHOULD NOT" be included in your normal
network (A & B Lists). You can afford to; and I might add, they
deserve to be contacted in a more personal manner.
How Ya Doin?
Don't waste your time, money and network resources sending out
messages to your network, saying nothing more than the basic,
"We're Here, We're Open, We in Business, Here's our Number".
Save your network contacts for special events. Special Offers,
Workshops, Discount Coupons, Etc.
This is what networking is all about and your contact with your
network should be as personal as possible.
For those of us on the Internet juggling large mailing lists it
is often hard to be personal with what you would call your
network. To start with you should use a personalized email
program (http://www.MakingProfit.com/mp/webware.shtml) to call
your contacts (or subscribers) by name. This is better than
"Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom it Concerns".
For good network contacts such as your qualified prospects you
might want to consider a phone call. A follow up letter never
hurts. That always gives you a chance to include a brochure
Just what is the Biggest Secret to Networking?
You want to know the biggest secret to Networking and the
hardest part as well? Doing it! Do yourself a favor, set goals
for yourself. Say to yourself, I will contact this many people
this month. Keep at it until you reach your goal. The hardest
part of networking just getting out there and doing it.
One Last Tip...
Being on the Internet and using email this is no easy task for
cold calls either. With such words as Bulk Mail, Flaming and
Spam you need to step (or "key") softly.
My suggestion to writing "cold calls" is rather than send them
any advertising, take some time, use their name (including the
subject heading), and invite them to visit your site for a free
offer or to use a free service. Don't try to sell then anything
and remember to eliminate any signature file lines you may have
As with any unsolicited email always comes a risk and a warning.
No matter how clean (of advertising) it is it can still be
considered spam, but goodness knows then just about any email
today could be.
Align your messages with your targets. Don't send your message
out to just anyone, and never, ever send advertising. Make your
invite and leave it at that. If they visit you and like your
services they'll let you know. In my judgment, anything else is
far above the risk it is worth.
This can be a "nifty networking tool" if used responsibly,
moderately and properly. Be sincere, be personable and don't
About the author:
William "Wild Bill" Montgomery President, GreatDesignz.com