I was watching her. Jumping quickly from tree to tree, cocking her head as if listening for something, and then moving on. Until. Bam! She halts her exploration and begins furiously pecking a hole.
Brimming with curiosity, I ran inside and did a quick search for everything woodpecker. What I found was interesting…and relevant to the business world.
Woodpeckers know exactly what they are looking for – they know what it sounds like and what if feels like. And they save their time and energy until they find it. You simply will not see a woodpecker randomly drilling for holes in trees searching for bugs. They would wear themselves down before they ever got a bite of protein.
I see Entrepreneurs wearing their ‘beaks’ down all the time.
Yet I see Entrepreneurs wearing their ‘beaks’ down all the time. They go to meetings where none of their ideal clients are hanging out. They spend $25 on lunch and hand out business cards to one disinterested, unqualified prospect after another. They chatter away on their social media platforms with a one-size-fits-all narrative. They join expensive associations that are more interested in selling to them than in helping them connect to customers.
My fellow Entrepreneurs – time for a little ‘beak intervention.’ You’re not alone. I think every single one of us have come back from a luncheon and thought, “Well, there’s two hours and $25 I’ll never get back.”
Here are seven DOs that will make your networking more profitable and on target.
DO make yourself a magnet for your ideal customer. Embody the service or product you offer. If you are a health coach – be fit and fabulous. If you are a landscape architect, have a beautifully landscaped yard. If you are a website designer, have the best website. We attract what and who we are BEING, not what we wish for.
DO build your ideal customer avatar (profile). Know your peeps. Know where they hang out. Know their pain. Know how you can solve their pain and add value to their lives!
As you think about your ideal customer, ask:
- What are their interests?
- What are their values?
- How do they make decisions?
- What is their pain? Their problems? Their desires? If they are not aware of it, move on. You don’t have the time or resources to educate them about a problem or desire they don’t know they have.
- Do they have the means to pay you to solve their problem or fulfill their desire? If they cannot pay you, then move on. This is not being heartless. You cannot achieve your mission if you cannot pay the rent.
- Who else might they be looking at to solve their particular problem? We don’t examine the competition to imitate. We look at them to innovate. To find that niche of underserved people who we are uniquely positioned to serve.
- Why are you the person to solve their unique problem or meet their specific need? Practice having a tight, high-impact answer when people ask, “Why you?”
In a nutshell, it doesn’t matter how great your idea is if no one cares. So, make sure you are talking to the people who care enough about what you offer to pay you to deliver it for them.
DO join LinkedIn groups that reflect your ideal customer. Then engage. Share a post, interact, post a question, and share a thoughtful article. LinkedIn is an amazing business tool for professionals and there’s a group for every industry. And for the most part, it’s free of the other distractions that plague Twitter and Facebook. To make it work for you, you have to spend the time to search for your ideal people within your industry. Then connect and engage. Seriously, where else can you reach the leaders within particular industries?
DO join Facebook groups where your ideal customers hangout. If you are a health coach, join a Facebook group that is about eating organic or natural health remedies. If you are a residential architect, join a Facebook groups that focuses on home improvement and design. Then of course, simply engage and share relevant, helpful content. Do not attempt to pitch or sell. People hate it. If you are engaging and being helpful, you will be surprised at how many people are attracted to you. “Wow, this guy says some smart things. I wonder what he does?”
DO just ten minutes of research before you go to a networking meeting. You can usually qualify that group pretty quickly to see if it’s worth your time. Who attends this event? Are they your ideal customers or can they introduce you to your ideal customer? What’s the size of the group? An obvious example, if you’re a start-up, you are going to hang out where investors hang out!
DO content marketing. Have a blog or a news feed that provides relevant, timely information that is not ‘pitchy’ to your ideal customer. Give them the chance to know you, like you and trust you. Keep at it until you feel you’ve earned the right to offer them a great solution (for a price of course).
DO ask your best customer and colleagues for referrals. Do it in a personal way, not a mass email. Call them, thank them for their loyalty. Ask them, “Do they know someone who could benefit from what they provide?” Most are very happy to do it. They just need a nudge. Referrals are worth gold!
This list of seven DOs may seem obvious and not that innovative. Trust me, if you do these things, and do them regularly, you will see results. Now, go get ‘em.
Charlene Ann Nelson is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, seminar leader, and Business Profit Innovator. You can learn more about Charlene’s business growth and speaking services at CharleneAnnNelson.com. You can also subscribe to Charlene’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/CharleneAnnNelson.