An effective way to get new customers is through your ‘warm market’. Your ‘warm market’ is anyone you know or been in contact with. And like anything in business, getting new customers is a numbers’ game. That is, the more people you know or speak to, the more likely you are to get more customers. So expanding your warm market is a great way to market your business.
The best way to expand your warm market is to speak to as many people as you can about your business. Networking events offer you the opportunity to raise awareness about your business.
The people you speak to may not end up being your next customer, but they could be the door to other potential people that this person knows or has met through their lifetime.
But you don’t want to use your time at networking event just talking about you and your business. People will switch off quickly and learn to avoid you.
Really smart networkers ask questions and listen. These questions allow them to gather market intelligence (aka information) about what people think about what’s happening in their marketplace. They will also ask questions which will help them find out if this person could be, or knows someone who could, be their next customer – and if they do, then they follow up with a phone call after the event to make a time to speak. It’s basically getting new customers by stealth. These really smart networkers will also have a plan of attack and approach their networking strategically.
A really great tool to help with this approach is a free downloadable mobile app which syncs across different devices called Evernote. Evernote is your best friend when it comes to ensuring that you make the most of your networking opportunities. It allows you to plan, practice, participate and perform using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop and or desktop to get your next customer.
Here is an approach to maximising your networking opportunities using Evernote:
- Prior to attending the networking event, download and use Evernote to record the following.
- Set yourself some goals ie I am going to speak to four new people, I’m going to follow up with two people I already know, I’m going to try and find people who know these types of people
- Set out the questions you are going to ask new people or help you phish for new customers ie what’s your business / where do you work? what services / products to have? what are you finding tricky in your business at the moment? do you know anyone who needs this?
- Have some questions ready to ask the people you already know. Start with, the last time we met you said, … How is that going?
- Have a really good ‘elevator speech’ about your business – an elevator speech is a sentence or two which describes the key benefits of what you do ie “I help businesses be more successful and work smarter through using technology and the internet better”
- Review the above in Everntoe before going into the event to remind you about what you are trying to achieve
- At the networking event, mix with people who you don’t know – introduce yourself by saying “Hello, I am …” as most people will then respond with “Hello, I am” .. then start asking your pre-prepared questions
- During the networking event, use Evernote to record key points and follow-ups from the event’s key speaker
- Following the networking, record in Evernote the names, company details and positions of the people you met and record:
- a sentence or two about what you learned about the people you met
- any actions you have set yourself about following up with these people eg call them, email them, speak to them at the next networking event – set a date in Evernote when you expect this actions to happen. Evernote will then remind you of these deadlines.
- If applicable, tweak the goals and questions you had set prior to the networking event and save the note ready for the next event.
- Before attending the next event, review your goals, questions and people who you said you would catch up with next time. Don’t wait to for the day before to do this. As you will have Evernote in your pocket, update your networking event notes as and when you think of something. This is as easy as writing an SMS.
- If you have the premium Evernote service you will be able to scan people’s business cards straight into your Evernote and add the above information, as well as link it to their social networking profiles eg their LinkedIn profile.
For Apple phones etc – https://evernote.com/evernote/guide/ios/
For Android phones etc – https://evernote.com/evernote/guide/android/
Now start to play around with Evernote by trialing these steps at your next networking event. You are sure to find a lot of new customers.
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