Over the last 7 years, hundreds of local businesses have joined us as ABN Contact Builders, meeting two other businesspeople each month, developing relationships, supporting each other and winning new business. However, this year is the first time that a Contact Builder membership has been given as a present!
If we very quickly go into talking only about ourselves and our businesses, we’ve missed out the part that comes first – developing rapport. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s a conversation. And conversations are like tennis, they go backwards and forwards
If you’ve tried a few networking events and you just don’t like it, don’t worry, no-one likes everything! And being out there having to speak with different people about different things simply isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re in a position where you have to network as part of your job/business, what can you do?
It’s a human fear, a fear that every networker will have had at some point, that we’ll go into a room full of people who all seem to know each other and are deep in conversation. What if we can’t find a conversation to join?
Like any other business development or marketing activity, our networking is most effective when it’s done regularly. A little, regularly works well. Bingeing, then nothing for weeks or months, doesn’t. But how often is ‘regular’?
September saw a record high month for the number of new ‘Contact Builders’, our unique 1-1 relationship-building service. It also took the total number of clients who have used this service to over 500 – including some who’ve been with us from the very start 6 years ago!
With most things in life – sport, DIY, playing a musical instrument, art, dancing. etc – some people just seem to naturally pick things up well. We’re all good at some things, but find others a challenge. Networking is exactly the same!
Despite only being underway for a few weeks, the Ttenners are already doing what these groups do: building relationships, sharing vital market intel and insights, supporting each other and winning new business.
Try to look at it from the point of view of your fellow networker. You are one of many people they’ll be chatting with. If you were them, would you want to hear long-winded answers to ‘What do you do?’ and other questions? Or succinct and interesting answers that are easy to understand, remember and pass on to others?
Our ‘Ten’ sales intel groups recently passed the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the first group, Sten. Well, over £5m in new business has now been won by group members