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Networking can add value in more ways than one

February 18, 2013

Much of the discussion that online blogs focus on is social networking.   While social networking is very important, it is also a good idea to tend to the traditional forms of networking as well.   Find people who have access to the markets that you want or need and seek them out.  Trade for access to their customers, or access to their center of influence.

The best example that I can give relates back to insurance agents.   Many of these agents have not only customers that are personal insurance customers (like auto, home – etc ) but also business clients (accountants, contractors, etc).   When you have a customer base as big and diverse as an insurance agent, then you can use your play your hand at merging networks.

Perhaps you can solicit all the homeowners with an offer from one of your contractors that happens to be a kitchen re-modeler.  By talking to the contractor and determining what incentives he has to be able to offer your clients, you can network in tandem.   The same would also apply.  That contractor has a tremendous base of customers that perhaps would like to recommend his insurance agent friend to.  This is something that is very simple in nature and for sure not earth shattering as you read it today – yet I find it is one thing that just does not get done much today.

In the end, in order to get a sale sometimes, you not only need to bring monetary value, but also the value added services you provide will create an extra incentive for doing business with you.  I would not only recommend that you merge networks, but there is also another way to showcase this value.   Sponsor a monthly seminar at the business where you spotlight a customer.   Have your current customers bring a friend.  The good thing is that you can use these seminars as great posts on your other social networking sites (like Facebook), so people see other people commenting, liking and coming to the seminars.  In order to help attendance,  when you publish it, make it be for the first 30 people that call.   Even though you may take 50, when people think that there is a limit, that in itself will make them commit to attendance.  For the company that is doing the presentation, make them bring the food and make sure that you broadcast photos of the event after so people can see what they missed.

If you can get into a habit of having these seminars monthly, it will be something that people will look forward to if not for the presentation, for the food and socializing.   You will benefit regardless of why they are there.  There was a big printing company here in town, they would have a gathering once a month with coffee and danish and a short presentation on a marketing topic.  I would go because the info was always very useful, but I could also network with other business owners at the time that I could prospect to.

Remember to add value in your working relationships with your customers, they will be less likely to replace you.

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