To increase the success of your business or organization, take full advantage of the numerous networking opportunities available to you.
Many of our clients tell us they attend various business functions, yet don’t get any business from them. To turn these events to fertile opportunities of generating business and key contacts, you need a plan. At the next function, instead of pretending the wallpaper fascinates you, try following the steps for converting functions into fortunes.
- Set Realistic Goals. Prior to attending a function, determine how many contacts you want to generate from this event. Make it your objective to collect a minimal number of business cards and leads. Set a realistic number. Don’t go to a networking meeting thinking you are going to walk away with 100 possible names and numbers. Pick a realistic number, like 15. Take the time to qualify them to make sure a follow-up call is warranted.
- Have Your 10-Second “Commercial” Ready. When you meet prospects for the first time, you want to introduce yourself in a way that captures their interest right away. This is your 10-second personal commercial that explains the benefit of your product or service. If you can make it funny, that’s even better. Our brother Rick used to introduce himself by saying, “I sell trash.” That always got their attention. Then he would go on to say that his company sold packaging materials…the stuff that’s left over once you have the product.
- Gather Information to Qualify. As you talk to these contacts, ask many open-ended questions to learn as much about their business as you can. If you learn anything important, be sure to write it on the back of their card. If you need more room, write it down on a separate pad of paper you bring along. It is important that you get them to talk about their business and themselves, but don’t spend too much time with any one person. Learn the basics, then move on. The more you know, the easier it will be to follow up. Be sure to get permission to follow up in the next few days.
- Divide and Conquer. If you’re attending a function with a coworker, don’t spend time together. Don’t sit at the same table. Use the time to meet new people who can potentially buy from you.
- Contact Promptly. Within several days of meeting your 15 leads, be sure to do a follow-up. This can be done by phone or e-mail. Mention that it was great meeting them and you look forward to a beneficial business arrangement. Ask when would be a good time to get together to discuss the possibilities of working together in some way. Make it very non-threatening, but it’s important to meet face-to-face.
- Arrange a Meeting. Take the initiative to arrange a face-to-face meeting so you can discuss how both of your businesses can work together. Though it is possible to begin business relationships on the phone, visiting in person makes a much stronger impression. It would also to be to your advantage to first meet outside of the prospect’s business. Luncheon invitations are perfect incentives to entice prospects to visit with you off site.
Learn from Slutsky At PMQ’s New York Pizza Show
Jeff Slutsky will present his seminar on how to market and promote your pizza business using only a shoestring budget. You will learn how to out-think the competition, not out-spend them with this unique marketing program that teaches you the practical side of how to advertise, market, promote and generally increase sales without spending a lot of money. Elements covered in this seminar include:
- Why most low-cost, local marketing efforts fail.
- No-cost neighborhood networking for customer referrals.
- Profiting from non-profits at no risk to you.
- Making more money with street smart mail.
- Why businesses will advertise for you, free.
- How to avoid the discount trap.
- When it's appropriate to coupon and why.
- How to keep your regulars paying full price.
- How to steal business from your competitor.
- Five variations of promotions that get big returns.
- The two advantages of the one-way promotion.
- Three changes you make to maximize the value card.
- Which offers make the most sense.
- Who to contact and why.
- Using the reverse promotion to increase margins.
- How to tie fundraising into bottom line profit.
- How to leverage the effort for maximum PR.
- Who are the best groups to work with and why.
- How to dominate a charitable event for free.
- How to mail for less money.
- What kind of message brings in the business.
- Three ways to always get your mail opened.