strategic networking

Strategic Networking – A 3 Phase Approach

Do you use networking as a marketing strategy for growing your business? In this video, marketing strategist Dean Mercado of Online Marketing Muscle provides a 3 phase approach to transform “good” networking results to “great” networking results using strategic networking.

Video Transcript

Hi this is Dean Mercado of Online Marketing Muscle and welcome to this video segment where we’re going to talk a little bit about strategic networking.  Not just any networking, strategic networking.  What I’m going to give you is a four phase approach to doing just that.  In a nutshell what are the three phases?

There’s a pre-phase or a pre-event phase what happens before you get to the event or what you should be doing before you get to the event.  Then there’s the event itself and then there’s the post-event which happens afterwards.  Now typically a lot of times where we see a breakdown in networking effectiveness and networking strategically is typically the outside the outside phases, the pre and the post.  Now those that have been around me for a long time know that I’m a firm believer in nothing happens in business without people, so the more strategic you can be in developing and nurturing your relationship with people, the more successful and success you are going to experience.

Pre-Event

Let’s talk about the pre-phase.  What do we mean by the pre-phase?  We’re talking here about your figuring out what you want, setting goals in other words, what do you want from that networking event?  The networking event could be a one-on-one with one person, it could be your doing online on any social media site, it could be you attending any trade conference or conference or seminar, anything like that.  Anywhere you’re going to bump into people, could be the grocery line for you know whatever, but.  The idea is you need to be thinking through what do you want from that experience?  Also, doing a little bit of research, so if you know you’re meeting someone particular, Google them.  Just type in their name in quotes in Google and find out a little bit about them.  If they have a LinkedIn page or a Facebook page, check them out a little bit.  Learn a little bit about the person because it will help you communicate and it will help you connect with that person when you are actually in conversation with them.

Along with the researching and setting goals, rehearse a little bit.  If you’re uncomfortable or nervous rehearse a little bit.  If you have to stand in front of a mirror even do that.  Stand in front of a video camera, whatever it takes to start getting you a little bit more comfortable engaging people.  Now for some of you this is not a problem whatsoever and you feel I need to rehearse that kind of thing.  But for many of you, it may make sense.  If you need to be in a closed room when you do it or in your car, fine.  The idea is get a little bit of practice.  Practice does help make you more perfect with doing this.  We’re researching, we’re rehearsing a little bit, we’re setting goals.  What are we doing, we’re building a plan.  We know what we want to accomplish as a result of networking at that event.

Event

Then we’ve got the main phase, the event itself.  This is where you need to execute.  You need to pull from everything that you’ve planned through and you need to execute.  With the intent of really connecting with this person and finding out if there’s a bond.  Try and bond.  And see where go from here.  So you kind of want to lay those pieces out.  If you do bond, what’s next?  And if there is a next, what is it exactly?  And really lay that out with that person, so this way it’s not like oh well we had a great meeting today, we just met for an hour and now you never call each other again.  The idea is if you want to take it further, make a plan.  Set some things in action.  Whatever it takes.  Even break out the calendars if that makes sense and put another appointment on the calendar.

Post-Event

So we’ve got the pre-event, the event and now we’re going to the post-event.  Now I’m also a big fan of saying the power is in the follow-up.  Let’s face it, if you don’t follow up with the person after that chances are you really wasted your time networking with them.  Unless of course they weren’t worth following up with and that does happen too.  Nothing wrong with that. At least you know, but the key is that if there is any reason to follow up or follow through make sure that you are doing that in the post-event phase.  So the follow-up the follow-through, looking at what you want to accomplish.  Again, setting another plan in motion of what’s got to happen next and then putting in place and making that happen.

So we’ve got the pre, the event itself and then the post event.  A little strategic networking for you.  Try it on, let me know what you think.  Comment on the blog, let me know how this works out for you.  It’s not just going out there and just saying I’m networking.  Have a purpose.  A purpose and objective.  OK folks, happy networking, have an outstanding rest of the day and we’ll chat soon.  For Dean Mercado, Online Marketing Muscle, here’s to your success.

The One Marketing Strategy You Can’t Afford to Be Without!

I see it all the time… not only as an avid networker but as a marketing coach and consultant. You meet someone… you exchange business cards… and then nothing happens! No one follows up. Why? Why bother networking if you’re not going to follow up to see where a relationship can lead? You need the best business networking strategy to really benefit your business.

"The power is in the follow up"

Dean Mercado

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Duration: 4 minute, 60 seconds

This is a typical breakdown point for many independent professionals, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. On a broader scale, you spend all that time, money, and energy identifying prospects and making the initial contact. Then what happened? You disappeared! You literally faded away into the proverbial abyss!

Now, the popular consensus among many marketing experts is that it takes at least 4 touches or contacts just to get on someone’s radar and at least 7 touches for them to see you as a credible source to buy from. 

Now if that’s the case and you don’t follow up beyond the initial contact, you’re not even on their radar! So how could you possibly expect them to buy from you? Even if they need or want what you have to offer, unless they can’t find anyone else, they’ll probably give their business to someone they’re more comfortable with.

Remember unless there’s no choice, people tend do business with people they know, like, and trust… and regularly staying in front of your target market builds that bridge of familiarity and comfort with you. This way when they’re ready to buy what you sell, you already have top-of-mind awareness and will be one of the first people they call!

So with all of this being said, I firmly believe that every independent professional, small business owner, or entrepreneur must, and let me repeat that MUST, have at least one what I call “Keep in Touch” marketing strategy!

It’s critical that you stay in front of your target market on a fairly consistent basis. This at a minimum will give them a chance to get to know you… to get comfortable with you… comfortable enough to buy from you.

So let me guess… I bet your next question is “well what are some great ways of keeping in touch with my target market?”

My answer… there are so many possibilities available to you… regardless of your budget. Here are some possibilities:

  • Start a blog and allow your target market to join in for regular conversations;
  • Create a newsletter or an ezine that shares tips and tricks;
  • Publish a regular podcast where you discuss hot topics of interest;
  • Write “how to” articles geared to make your target market’s life easier or better and periodically send them out as a way to add value;
  • Send out holiday, birthday, and special occasion greeting cards – I don’t care how old your target market is, we all appreciate being remembered;
  • Reach out and touch someone with a phone call… even if it’s just to say hello;
  • Invite one, or better yet a few people from your target market for coffee and some networking… believe me, if you put some thought into who you invite, they may really appreciate you connecting them with others they may be able to do business with as well;
  • And we can go on and on and on here.

As you can probably see, there are literally tons of ways that you can keep in touch with your target market. Now be mindful that you don’t overdo it here… you don’t want to become a nuisance… That’s not the point. Neither is the point to bombard your target market with solicitations they didn’t request. This will only trigger the “oh no, what are they trying to sell me now?!” syndrome. The point is to find ways to stay top-of-mind by regularly adding value.

Additionally, select the marketing tactics and tools that both your target market and you are comfortable with. In other words don’t start a blog if neither your target market nor you are comfortable online – you most likely won’t get the best results that way.

So in closing, remember the power is in the follow up! You need to have at least one way, one “Keep in Touch” marketing strategy to regularly stay in front of your target market and establish the top-of-mind awareness it takes to succeed.

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