By Jeff Bowman
You undoubtedly have heard that it isn’t who you know that is important to success, it is how you present your message to those decision makers once you get that golden opportunity to meet them.
There is some truth in the notion, however, that you will increase your chances for success incrementally when you multiply the opportunities to present your product or service through networking and developing what I call “channels of exposure”.
In broad terms, there is no direct sale without some form of relationship entering into the equation. The strength of the relationship is what determines the level of trust and interest. The more relationships you develop, the greater there is a chance for someone else to promote you and your products -that’s right, letting someone else sell for you based simply on the strength of your relationship with them.
Networking provides the opportunity for you to make hundreds of contacts – granted some will provide a level of value and some will simply remain in your contact management system as contacts. But it is the harvesting of the good ones that leads to the “exposure channel”
There are many organized networking events available – hosted by professional organizations, Boards of Trade and RIC Centre.
You need a plan of attack and a well-rehearsed introduction. This is not, as many seem to think, a game of he or she who leaves with the most business cards is the winner. You may attend an event and recognize that there are only a couple of conduits available to add to your channel, and that is fine. Prior to attending any event you need to ask yourself some questions:
Who would make a good contact for me directly? These would include all those who will buy, finance, market or will introduce you to buyers.
Who would make great secondary contacts? Those who know others, distributors, product specialists or people who are well respected and have influence in an industry.
What have I got to offer in return? Ask yourself why is my product or service interesting, needed or of higher value than my competitors?
Armed with his infomation, you are ready to step up to the plate and swing at your selected pitches. Don’t neglect the other opportunities that exist to build your channel at social events, sports activities, volunteering for charities or schools etc. The time it takes to introduce yourself and ask a few simple questions may be well rewarded.
So, it is who you know and how you manage the channel of exposure through networking and other activities that will determine your success rate.
Your one voice can reach a few ears. However, a combined effort will reach ears you never even imagined. Just like in the Dr.Suess story, Horton Hears a Who, “we are here, we are here!”