The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. — Robert T. Kiyosaki
There are more than 51 million (5.1 Crore) SMEs in India which employ 117 million (11.7 Crore) people. While these numbers are impressive, they also show that most of the business owners cannot hire or retain good staff and sales people. Many of us have tried various marketing methods resulting in utter failures or poor results. This leaves us to depend on our relationships in the local market to find new customers.
A recent survey asked thousands of business owners – what is their most important method to get customers? The result – Astounding 85% business owners depend on word of mouth to get their customers!
I am sure, many of us have gone for networking events or organizations for this same reason. We want others to share new business opportunities through their contacts or their referrals for us. We want a rock solid way of continuously generating referrals for our business month after month.
If you have gone to many such events or groups and have not found much success, here is the most important secret of business networking you need to know:
In these networking groups or meetups, “Your job is to be interested in others first!” – not selling, not sharing cards or talking about your products or services in the first interactions. (Unless others ask you about the same!).
Did you like anyone who in the first conversation tried to sell or showcase their services? Don’t be that stressful person for others! Instead, ask them quality questions, listen to what they say carefully and become genuinely interested in them and their business ventures. When possible think of helping them with referrals from your network first!
As Jebb Blount, a leading expert in Sales, puts it: “You don’t go to networking events to sell. You are not there to set appointments, get leads or close business. You are there to create connections with other people.” You will eventually get business leads, appointments or even business closures from them – If and only if, you are interested in others, in the first place!