Aug 03 Attract More Clients: Consistently Network to Publicize Your Brand
Attract More Clients: Network Consistently to Publicize Your Brand
Yesterday I was talking with a client who was frustrated with their recent sales decline of her organization. As I was chatting with this professional who was describing the image concerns within the organization, I realized I wanted to share with you one of the key points that was concerning their employees. She was explaining to me that when business becomes difficult, the top brass huddle around the conference table and immediately go into reactive mode and exclaim,
“We’ve go to get our people out networking ASAP.” She explained to me that they
do belong to some specific networking organizations and attend events now and
then. This professional was concerned with how their organization was showing
up in the marketplace inconsistently, often without being clear as to which
groups are the best for them, perhaps resulting in doing more damage to their
corporate brand than enhancing it.
I wanted to share this story with you because it is very
common with businesses today. I do think this organization’s marketing strategy
can be damaged by being inconsistent in their visibility, even if they are strategically targeting the right
organizations. If you make the decision to join an organization or a networking
group as a part of your marketing plan to attract your ideal clients, you need
to be there consistently, and make sure that group is a good fit for you and
your company, that it attracts your target market and gives you ways to
communicate your personal and business brand message to members of that group.
Select the Right Networking Group
Sometimes it just isn’t the right organization or fit for
your business. That’s okay. I personally have been very selective and sometimes
visit a group several times to get a feel for the organization and whether my
target clients are in that audience. Networking is always about building
long-term relationships, and being a resource for others in the group . We hope
that by genuinely giving to others that they will resonate with us and
recommend us to when the occasion arises. Many new networkers think it is about
how many business cards you collect or telling everyone about you and your
business. If that is why you are going out networking, stay home.
Give Graciously to Others
Have you ever gone to a networking event and gotten home
with twenty cards and wondered, “who are these people?” On the other hand, I
think we can all remember the time we have attended a networking event or a
business function, met someone new, struck up a thoroughly enjoyable
conversation and felt very connected with that person. It’s like you’ve known
them for years. You come away feeling like you had so much in common that you
can’t wait to connect with them again soon. That is the experience you are
looking for when networking—an effective and graceful experience.
Build Strong Networks
Your goal is to start a relationship with someone with whom
you feel connected and perhaps want to explore whether they are someone who
could benefit from your services. I personally have met a number of wonderful
people who are now great friends of mine, all because we connected at a
business networking event. I have met others through networking that I have
worked with over the last several years, and I love working with them. I would
recommend any of them to a potential prospect in a minute because I know and
trust these people.
That’s what networking is all about. It’s the experience of
exploring new relationships allowing for the possibility that your paths will
cross in the business arena. You want to spend time enjoying yourself at these
events and when you do, you naturally and gracefully communicate your personal
brand with ease, cultivating new relationships and cementing existing ones.
The next time the boss pulls the troops together to announce
the new marketing strategy and using networking as a tool, remember that it’s
not a crisis management option. It is important, however, that you critically
access whether any particular group is the right one for you and your company.
When it is a good fit, when it is a group that attracts people from your target
audience, you can show up confidently and consistently to share your personal
brand with the group. You’ll love learning more about these professionals
because you already know their issues and concerns. By finding the right group,
and participating consistently so people get to know you, you can easily reap
the rewards of networking, rather than approaching the activity haphazardly
because the boss is in panic mode.
- About the Author
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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