Do You Make These Mistakes When Networking?
For coaches, networking, when applied consistently, and focused on your target market, is an excellent way to bring in new leads. But, more often than not, coaches make mistakes that hamper the success of networking as a client-getting strategy.
So, read on, and discover: do you make these mistakes when networking?
1. Not Taking Your Business Card
If you're networking, you're going to be collecting business cards, and your prospects will ask for yours. It's one of the cheapest forms of promotion there is.
So take a stack of cards. If you haven't got any - order some professionally-produced cards today! Look for recommendations for printers from fellow coaches, or from other professionals.
2. Not Having a Concise Answer to "So what do you do?"
This is so easy to do, yet many fall at the first fence. Have a short elevator speech that makes it clear who you coach, and what solutions you offer.
Give enough information in your first response, but don't overwhelm. Test out your elevator speech and get feedback on it from your target market.
3. Networking with Other Coaches
Who are you networking with? Naturally, it should be with your target market.
A networking event put on by a coaching association, or attended by other coaches is not the type of networking event you want. Who, there, ultimately, is going to buy your services? No-one! Go to networking event attended by your target market!
4. Not Being Clear on Who Your Target Market Are
This will kill you quicker than anything else. If you're not clear on your target market - your niche - you will attract no-one. You'll end up attending random "networking" events where the likelihood of finding a match with your services is remote.
So before you start planning your networking, get clear on your coaching niche. Then ensure you go to events attended by your target market!
5. Premature Selling
Let's be clear about what networking is all about. It's not about you delivering your sales pitch. It's not even about getting a client at that event. Really. It's about understanding the needs of the person in front of you and building a relationship.
It may turn out you have nothing relevant to offer them. That's OK. You may know other resources you can recommend to them - and if you do, be sure to share.
6. Not Making Notes
When you meet a likely prospect, take their business card. Let's assume you're getting on well, and there seems to be a match with what they want and your services.
Ask if you can call them in a few days to outline your services in more detail. Write on the card when they're happy for you to call them. Then make sure you call them then.
7. Not Following Up
If you're not following up, why on earth are you networking? You need to make time to systematically call your prospects in the days after the networking event.
This requires thinking about your prospect, your interaction and what you're going to say when you call.
8. Not Getting Trained
You got trained in coaching skills, didn't you? You most likely invested time and effort in learning how to coach. Networking, for the vast majority of coaches, does not come naturally - it's something you need to learn.
So take a course. I can strongly recommend Will Kintish's networking courses - more details via http://www.kintish.co.uk
9. Not Being Consistent
As with all marketing strategies, you can't just go to one networking event and think "That's it". Networking - both attendance and follow-up - is something you must do consistently.
You should be looking to attend relevant networking events at least fortnightly. Make this a part of your working life.
10. Getting Drunk
There are often opportunities for drinking at networking events. If you do drink, do so in moderation. This is business, not pleasure. No-one is particularly attractive when drunk, and it's easy to underestimate how much drink will affect you.
Bonus Tip: Be Innovative - Consider Using CDs
One variation on handing out business cards worth mentioning is a professional who gives out recordings of a presentation he's given on CDs. It's now quite possible to record - cost-effectively - a presentation, teleclass or briefing you've given, and give it away, in place of a business card.
Just be sure it's relevant to your target market, it's produced to a high standard and has all your contact details included.
In this article I've discussed the most common mistakes that coaches make when using networking to build their business. Which ones are you now aware of that you can avoid? And what actions are you going to take as a result of reading this article?