As we push relentlessly into 2022, after suffering two tumultuous years of Covid, many networking events are starting to appear on the horizon, creating opportunities for us to mix with our peers and to meet potential new customers. I attended two networking events this week and the joy and delight on people’s faces to be able to meet face-to-face has been priceless.
Over 95% of all business owners I’ve ever spoken to have indicated that they would like word-of-mouth referrals to be the main source of sales leads. Over 80% of business owners have indicated that they dislike cold calling and most of them will do anything to get out of having to get on the phone and call people they don’t know.
My view has always been when I get a customer, I want to keep them for life. To enable me to do that I first have to meet the right type of customers for my business, initiate and develop long-term relationships, and service the hell out of them. 98% of my sales leads come through attending networking events and word-of-mouth referrals from my current customers. I utilise some social media advertising purely for brand awareness.
When the going gets tough networkers get networking. We all have our ups and downs in business and when we get into hard times, if you have strong relationships with your customers, you have a higher likelihood of surviving compared to other businesses that don’t. Networking has proven time and time again to give the best return on investment in relation to meeting and initiating relationships with potential customers. It is also much easier to measure your ROI on the dollars you may spend on networking activities.
I often get asked, “why do you continue to go to networking events when you have plenty of clients?” My answer to this is, that you continually need to top up your client database as all businesses have an attrition of clients that has nothing to do with the client been unhappy with the service. The client may retire, go out of business, and move away. Networking gives potential clients the opportunity to meet me face-to-face and decide if they like me or not. Upon developing this initial rapport, it gives me the opportunity to make a further appointment to then explain and sell my services to that potential client.
It also takes a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to organise a networking event and I feel that is my responsibility as a local business owner to support as many networking events as possible either by attending or through sponsorship. The more business owners meet and mix the more business that gets done. Every successful business leader list’s networking is a key success factor.
It has been proven time and time again that regular networking can be the difference between success or failure of a business especially in hard times. I encourage you to actively seek networking opportunities that cover your client target market.
Network and prosper!