Why a networking strategy is important for generating sales
Business networking can be an incredibly efficient way to generate sales, yet without a plan of action, many people who attend meetings are disappointed. Emma Wilson of EMARI explains how to make business networking a powerful part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Most businesses have a marketing or business plan but less than 20% have a networking strategy.
Online & offline networking can generate enquiries, deepen relationships & provide useful information yet many businesses do it in an ad-hoc way so it’s not as good at generating results as it could be.
Step One - Identify your reasons for networking:
Ask yourself the following questions, then rank them in order of importance.
Are you networking to...
• find new business, contacts & introducers?
• retain & build existing relationships?
• benefit from support e.g. trade body/sponsor/mentor?
• improve career prospects - find another job within the company or another company?
• position yourself as an expert?
• set up a team of experts?
• increase knowledge of your market, industry or factors that influence customer buying decisions?
• strengthen relationships with colleagues & motivate your team?
Step Two: Identify your KPIs
Every person you meet has the ability to add value to your network. Whenever you meet someone interesting, you should add them as a contact. Depending on your goals you can estimate the number of contacts you need to meet in order to achieve your networking goals. E.G. If you want find new business, contacts & introducers your monthly action plan could look like this:
Have 50 clients - ask them for referrals and introductions
Know 20 potential clients - Develop better relationships by looking at the content they post online & going to events they attend
Join a membership organisation to meet prospective clients (target 5)
Connect with sales staff within organisation (target 5)
Already have 5 introducers – ask for referrals
Increase introducers to 10 via networking online and offline
Make minimum 15 contacts.
Maximum 75 contacts required.
If you want to increase knowledge of your market, industry or factors that influence customer buying decisions, your monthly action plan would look more like this:
Ask 10 key clients for feedback on my latest product/service offer
Ask 10 key clients for feedback on how to refine existing products/services
Speak to 5 existing suppliers
Speak to 5 potential suppliers about new products,
Research 5 competitors - pricing, marketing strategies, customer base
Minimum 15 contacts
Step Three: Identify Contacts
Make a list of your current clients who you could ask for referrals from
Make a list of introducers – employees, accountants, suppliers, non-executive directors
Make a list of relevant memberships and/or networking organisations that you could join
Make a list of requests that you need from those memberships/networking organisations e.g. feedback on latest product/service offer
Make a list of the companies, job titles and/or names of the people you want to develop a relationship with and see what events they are attending or recommend events you think they might find useful that you could also attend
Voila! You now have a basic networking strategy to achieve your goals!
Emma is founder of marketing specialist, EMARI. She is host ONLE Breakfast @Village Portsmouth, the next meetings takes place on 8th April 0630 – 0830am. Book your ticket below.