I’ve noticed a set of common challenges that creative service professionals face when it comes to translating their expertise into a growing business. Some of the comments that come up in my business coaching practice are things like:
- “My work speaks for itself, I shouldn’t have to ‘sell’ myself”
- “I’m really good at what I do, but why isn’t my business isn’t growing faster?”
- “I’m no good at selling/I hate selling”
Reality Check: Being amazing at what you do, is not enough to guarantee business success. You also have to be good at building business.
It’s easy to lose yourself in your creative work, rather than trying to learn new business skills, but if you want to get paid what you’re worth and build a profitable business selling your services, then I want to share one strategy you can use to do that, and some tips for how to do it effectively.
The strategy is: Networking. The reaction I typically get from my clients when I tell them this is the fastest way to the money is, “I hate networking!” Listen, I get it. I’m an introvert myself. I hated networking too, until I learned how to do it in such a way that was natural, authentic and purposeful. Today, a big chunk of my revenue comes from using networking as a prospecting tool for my business.
Most people go to networking events completely unprepared, without knowing how to use networking as a lead generation source. They leave the event with the idea that it was a waste of time if they didn’t get any business from it; therefore, concluding that networking doesn’t work.
I have a soft-spoken, highly creative yet introverted client who owns a boutique design firm that I am supporting to build her business. She tripled her income from one quarter to the next, just by using networking as a marketing tool to bring in more design business.
If you want networking to work, you have to make networking work for you.
How many of us have gone home with a stack of business cards that we don’t know what to do with?
Did you know?
48% of people never follow up with a prospect. The majority of people don’t follow up after meeting someone, so if you want a competitive advantage, follow up and you’ll stand out from the pack.
ONLY 10% of people make 3+ contacts. Contacting a potential prospect only a few times is not going to cut it, because statistics show that 80% of sales are made on the 5-12 contact.
The reality is that you can go out and do all the networking you want, attend all the business meetings and collect as many business cards as you can, but without effective follow up you are just wasting your time, energy and money.
Networking is a really powerful way to create more business if done well.
Here are 5 things you need to do, to generate success from your networking efforts.
Do your homework
- Know who you want to meet and where they hang out
- Know what you are aiming for
- Set your goal for number of events per month and number of people you want to meet. (Hint: 1 event per month is not enough!)
Use a targeted approach
- Set your intention to make 5 quality connections at each event
- Classify them as: potential clients, partners, or alliances
Master your introduction
- Learn how to talk about what you do and why it’s important to the people you do it for
- Your introduction should magnetize your market. If your phone is not ringing off the hook with inquiries from your niche market you need to tweak what you’re saying
- Be curious and ask questions
- Be consistent and put in face time
- Talk less, listen more
Take action with follow up
- Be persistent, not annoying
- Schedule a follow up meeting with prospects right away, don’t wait for them to call you
Success is something that you create for yourself, so if you are serious about growing your business then you need to learn how to be a good business developer. The tools that I teach are part of a proven business development framework to help entrepreneurs to grow their business by working smarter not harder. So if you’re tired of trying to figure it out on your own…
I would like to extend an invitation to you for a 45-minute business strategy session with me. I’d love to share some ideas about how you too can strategically grow your business through networking, so that you can create massive success for yourself.