For most solopreneur home stagers NETWORKING is one of your key marketing strategies because you do not have a ‘company’ working on your behalf. You now are responsible for finding ways to attract new potential clients to work with you.
Are you joining networking groups where the members are your ideal target market, or who can give you referrals? This is an important question to ask yourself because there are only so many hours in the day that you have to spend on your marketing.
When I am teaching or conducting workshops on networking, I always recommend that you focus on ‘Quality’ and not ‘Quantity’. It’s not about how many cards can you get; it is about ‘how many relationships over time can you build’. In earlier ezines I talk about people needing to ‘Know You, Like You and Trust You’ before they will buy from you. We need to have our marketing pieces whether in person or electronically seen by them between 7 and 12 times. So it makes sense that just because you meet someone for the first time that they may not necessarily want to ‘buy from you’.
Follow up is critical after your networking event. When following up from a networking event it is considered very old school and unprofessional to follow up and try and sell something to someone you just met. You want to focus on ‘pull’ marketing rather than ‘push’ marketing so people self-select and want to buy from you. Find out how you can help them.
TOP 10 Networking TIPS – Creating A Networking System That Works You:
This is a system that I have used for years and 85 – 95% of my business has come from people I met at networking events. The business may not have come directly from the person I met but from what is called ‘Word of Mouth’ referrals – meaning someone who met or knows me, referred someone else to me whom I had not yet met.
This is what you need to do:
1. Determine which networking group is a good fit for you.
2. Attend as a guest a few times before you decide to join.
3. If you are shy and don’t consider yourself outgoing go with a friend but don’t stay together for the whole event.
4. The focus in networking is on the person you are meeting not on you – Ask Questions to get to know them: “How long have you been doing what you do?”, “What do you find most challenging in your business?”, “How did you get started?”, – you are there to learn about the other person not to tell them everything about yourself first; wait your turn.
5. Wear your name badge on your right hand side of your top – that way when shaking hands you can easily see each other’s name.
6. After you have chatted and exchanged business cards make a little note on the card about something to remind you of that person – sometimes a personal note on the card can be a great way to reconnect.
7. You have heard the expression ‘The Fortune Is In The Follow Up’ it’s true! When you follow up send everyone you met an email within the week. Always ask if there is anything you can help them with in your follow up email.
8. If there is someone you do want to meet with privately, ask them for a coffee meeting.
9. If you are on Facebook or LinkedIn see if they are too and connect with them.
10. Make sure they get into your database!!! With most database systems you can enter the contact name and they will then receive an email asking if they would like to sign up for your ezines/newsletters. If they are really interested in what you have to say or offer, they will ‘accept’. You can always send people directly to your site to sign up for future mailings, reports, courses, announcements, etc. but just in case…
PRES Staging Resource Centre founder, Dana J. Smithers, (founder and president of Sun On My Back Redesigns), has enjoyed a prestigious and successful career in Interior Decorating, Home Staging and Interior Redesign. Dana is passionate about this industry and has prepared over 700 students for successful Interior Decorating and Home Staging & Redesign careers of their own.