Sunday, January 13, 2013

Networking and The Marketing Plan

Networking is one of the best components to any marketing plan. However, networking requires ACTIVITY. Once you have the right philosophies in place the next component is ENGAGING IN THE RIGHT ACTIVITIES. These include attending networking events, following up with people in a meaningful way, not just going through the motions, and, finding a way to be of value in other people's lives without necessarily selling them immediately on your product or service. 

So here are a few guidelines to help you be successful in networking as part of your marketing plan. Be Prepared - make sure you have plenty of business cards.

Ask Questions - people love to talk about themselves, and give advice, and will generally tell you most anything you ask. Be a Good Listener - hear what they are saying and focus on them. Do not look around the room to see who else might be there that you want to meet. Always finish a conversation before looking for a new one. Consistent application of this philosophy coupled with the right activities is your true launch pad to successful networking.

When Networking It Is Very Important To Wear a Name Tag - NAME TAGS BUILD YOUR BRAND - Many people think name tags are unimportant. The fact of the matter is that name tags are an important part of marketing and building your brand. People, especially in the South, want to know who they are talking to and doing business with. Name tags allow the customer to remember someone who gave them excellent service.

Professional name tags are inexpensive and Mandatory! Make sure your name is in large print so that everyone can read it - young or old and always wear your name tag on the right side. This allows for people to read your name and company name when they shake your hand - this is where their eye naturally gravitates to.

Networking Is Not Just In Person Anymore - Facebook? Twitter? Linked In? Plaxo? If these terms sound like Greek to you then you should get online and research them - YESTERDAY. More and more people are making personal and business connections with online social networking. It is not a fad. It is not going away.

If you're not connected you are missing out on a FREE opportunity to increase your circle of influence and promote yourself and your business in a social setting. Don't try to do them all. Find one you like and start there. My personal favorite is Facebook. All of these online groups allow you to join for FREE.

There are also opportunities to have geographically targeted pay per click ads that will only show up where you want. For example, only certain zip codes, certain groups, certain cities or you can be global. Don't think you're computer savvy enough to do it? You'll never know if you don't try and trust me, the people who created these sites are always enhancing them and want you to be able to use them with ease.

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