Networking for Customers
You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people to get what they want” - Zig Ziglar
Networking can play an important getting customers role, especially for B2B businesses, and especially for younger businesses that need a bit of a ‘leg-up’.
Networking isn’t just a case of turning up at your first meeting and walking away with a fistful of new customers and hot prospects though. It’s a bit more slow-burn than that.
To make networking work for you, you need to recognise two things:
- That you’re going to have to go more than once or twice
- That you’re going to spend a lot of time feigning interest in some extremely dull people.
With those two unfortunate truths out of the way, here’s a strategy for squeezing new customers out of your local networking group.
It's best to start by getting to know your customer. You are selling to them after all.
Most people are happy to talk about themselves, they just need an excuse.
Here are 7 questions that can start a conversation and keep it moving for you.
1. “How did you get started in the XYZ business?”
People like to be the movie of the week in someone else’s mind. Let them share their story with you while you actively listen.
2. “What do you enjoy most about your profession? ”
This question elicits a positive response and good feelings.
3. “What separates you and your company from the competition? ”
This gives them permission to brag about their business.
4. “What advice would you give someone just starting out in the XYZ business?”
This question makes them feel superior and allows them to do some mentoring.
5. “What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?”
Asked to people who are a little bit more mature in years, this can be a perfect question because it allows them to reminisce about the good old days.
6. “What do you see as the coming trends in the XYZ sector?”
This is a speculation question and positions them as an expert in their industry, which makes them feel important.
7. “What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?”
This question elicits a positive reaction and also gives you an opportunity to see how they think.
Once you’ve nailed these tips, you're ready for the networking conversations!