Over the years we’ve noticed that January tends to be a bit quiet on the networking front. People are full of New Year optimism and rightly so. It’s a new year, a new start and they don’t need any help.
Not a bean.
February comes around and things haven’t taken off too well but you know it’s still the start of the year (just) and yes they are sure (well almost sure) things will sort themselves out.
March arrives and we get a flurry of emails and phone calls with people saying one thing “I need help with sales/marketing/branding/ MAKING MONEY”
So it’s only towards the end of the first quarter of year that they actually come out to one of our events and learn skills that help them improve their business and their profits.
THAT’S ONE QUARTER OF THE YEAR WASTED!
So, let’s not repeat that mistake. It would be foolish when the tools and the experts are here to help you now. At the start of 2013.
The first meeting in Chelmsford this year was a fabulous start – Gregory Baker’s business health check and types of customer guide gave us all a lot to think about.
She spoke for us back in Oct 2012 but 50 minutes clearly wasn’t long enough for her to tell us everything she wanted to nor for you to answer all your questions. And it’s because Kubi really enjoyed the energy, passion and supportive nature of The BWN that she wanted to come back and deliver a longer, more detailed workshop.
If you run your own business, I imagine you are passionate about what you do. If I didn’t love IT and making websites then I wouldn’t do it. That’s my passion, making beautiful website that bring my clients lots of clients. Would I like to make more profit – you bet! So you know where I’ll be on 25th January – will you be there too or will you wait until March before you do something?
Book now to Turn Your Passion in to Profit
It’s a funny question but it’s one that needs asking “When did I turn into a Radio 4 gal from a Radio 1 girl?”
It may not seem that relevant a question to ask a website laden with business women traffic, but bear with me here.
Seriously since I can remember I’ve been listening to Radio 1, bemoaning a change in a DJ and then falling in love with them and furiously postulating that Radio 1 would never be the same if that person left, only to fickly move on to the next one within 5 years. I’ve seen and copied every hair cut from frizzy Kylie perms and the same leggings and brogues that are back in fashion again today and it got me thinking.
It wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t wake up one morning and think “That Chris Moyles isn’t for me, I need a real voice to educate and inspire my mind today.” I just found the radio had other stations I could listen to beside my childhood love Radio 1 and the lovely Dave Monk (BBC Essex will always feature in my gotta listen category – he’s safe!)
And that’s the thing to remember in business. Peoples needs change, and half the time they don’t even realise they are changing. Half the time if you asked your customers what they needed they would say they are getting it. And that’s because we are pre-programmed by our subconscious to go through the motions of what has worked before. Find yourself going down certain aisles in the supermarket more than others? Why is it you never look at the top shelf? What makes you never considered a different brand?
It’s not a conscious decision, it’s a going through the motions, on autopilot kind of process. And we do it all the time. In every aspect of our lifes.
You need to bring it to the conscious part of people’s mind, why they should try you instead of their regular supplier. Why giving you a whirl could be the best decision they ever made.
You see we are all on that autopilot slowly turning from Radio 1 girls to Radio 4 gals. We are unconsciously having decisions made for us. Rarely do you see an 80 year old saying “Loving this Radio 1, the lyrics are just divine”, and why?
Because taste change the whole way through our life.
Would you say you are tapping into that?
(On that note remember peer group pressure – my kids get in the car and I get “Ergh Mum, get this old folk radio off, put Chris Moyles back on, and I enjoy it just as much. I’m enthused by my kids to remember being younger, on the cusp of life and ready for anything and a slight hint of a desire to stay that way, encourages me to keep the radio tuned in.( There’s something to remember in your marketing there – getting those feelings, and emotions flowing! Why do you think products aimed at your age group has music that you like from your teens years blasting in the background?)
But then without even being aware of it, like when you drive along and don’t remember the last mile of your journey, the music to the Archers starts playing.)
Elene Marsden comes to our Suffolk events. Elene cornered us at the end of the event this week to tell us what The BWN was doing for her business success. And we just love to hear that it’s not just business ideas, support, motivation and empowerment…..
I just love attending the Business Women’s Networking sessions. Networking for me is not all about making a sale, it’s about developing relationships and connecting with likeminded businesses. So when I attended the December BWN meeting in Essex I was especially pleased when Kathy Ennis from Ennvision listened to my 60 seconds promo slot about ACT and immediately placed an order with me.
Kathy had been looking for a way to organise her contact information, have all her emails stored in one place and most importantly she wanted a way to group her contacts for her marketing campaigns. She’d heard about ACT from Robert Craven, a business guru and was pleased to find she could buy the software from a fellow BWN member. I know Kathy is happy with her purchase and will tell her business associates about it.
Networking is all about planting the seeds and waiting for them to grow and sometimes they grow like sunflowers- fast and strong! And that’s the power of networking and in particular the BWN – serious networking for serious business people
To learn more about getting your business cards organised (from that mountain on the edge of your desk!)
/www.betteractnow.com/uk/DontBuyACTUntil.php www.corazonit.com www.youtube.com/elenemarsden
To Meet Kathy and learn more about what Kathy does – www.preparetogrow.co.uk
Great that great networking gained Elene a client and Kathy solutions – love it!
In various meetings, seminars and sessions with clients this week. A word has cropped up time and time again…..
But what is the big deal?
Why are we all using this word?
I found myself thinking about this, and I think this has something to do with it.
We have been through a time where clever marketing got us to buy things, then marketing got cleverer and still we bought things. Now as we are told the world is ending, banks are collapsing (mmmm who was it that announced over a billion £ profit this week in the banking world?) countries economies are toppling, the air is polluted…..”Run for the hills, we’re all gonna die” well you get the idea.
The fact is in the current nervous climate we want things transparent. We don’t want to be sold at. We want the facts.
What will it do?
How will it do that?
Will it make a big difference to my life, my business, my hair, my health……?
And so transparency becomes so important to us.
How many times has someone phoned you and rattled on about a million things, not cutting to the chase of what they want, what they want you to do, and how and when they want it to happen?
Wouldn’t it be great if people were more honest?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was no hidden agenda?
I think that is why honest marketing, clear talking and transparent ideas and actions are the order of the day.
And if you can get that into your marketing, your business ethos and the way you engage with people, they are far more likely to interact with you. And we all know where that can lead don’t we.
They want the real you, they want to know that the people they chose to work with care and will do their best, and the best way to show that is with transparency.
And a point to remember is, if you come up against people and businesses that are not prepared to be transparent then, you start to question what are you hiding? What aren’t you telling me?
When people feel like they have the whole picture, with no hidden agendas they relax, they get to like you and your products and that is taking you well on the way to a sale.
So get clear, transparent, see through, honest and straight talking in your business today.
(And a little note on the collapse of the universe – its highly likely business women like you and I will still get up tomorrow, get ready for work, make a difference to the people we work with and drink another cuppa – don’t buy into the media madness – its just a thought, but I know how powerful they can be!)
Mandie Holgate shared this with us, our Essex coordinator, if you are a coordinator for The BWN or have the Business Premier Pack and you have something useful or interesting to share with business women send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will link it to your website too.
Yesterday because our children had deserted us for a day of kites flying and eating E-numbers with grandparents my husband suggested a leisurely stroll around the shops. As we walked through a rather glittery department store (don’t you just love those? I feel they are like toy shops for women!) We walked through the cosmetic department.
That morning Hubby had watched me scrape the sides of my moisturiser and so as we strolled through he said “Why don’t you buy some products?”
What a stupid thing to say to a woman amongst so so so many pretty bottles.
I spent an hour walking around each counter, being introduced to all manner of products and it got me thinking.
When we chose to buy, what is it that makes us buy?
What is the thing that tips in one companies favour over another’s?
Well yesterday sums it up nicely.
You see, there was not going to be a single product in that store that would not brighten, reduce wrinkles or make your skin glow. Every product would promise things like that.
So how then do you decide which is best?
You could look at price – but a) hubby was intent on spoiling me (and who was I to argue!) and b)I wanted products that were right for me – price was secondary – and that dear readers is true of most people, with most purchases.
So price is ruled out, they all claim to do amazing things to make me look like a sprightly teen. So now what?
I chose on this.
As I walked from counter to counter. 3 people had stood out at 3 counters of gorgeous glossy bottles.
Woman 1 because every time I went to ask her a question she went into her spiel and wouldn’t allow me to finish. How many of you know someone that in their marketing concentrates on what THEY want to tell potential clients as opposed to what the potential client ACTUALLY WANTS to know?
Woman 2 because she was insistent that I love the cute bottles and the fact that their products were the best. Everyone on the planet thinks their product is better than their competitor (otherwise why be in business?) But the fact is that is not what matters to the customer, so stop bleating on to me about how amazing you are, people like to work that out for themselves. Otherwise they fight it and run away – which is exactly what I did – note here – these products were actually the cheapest, but I was completely turned off by the experience. I was on her agenda not mine. mmmm another analogy about marketing me thinks.
Lastly Woman 3 – I even remember her name, Lauren. Lauren listened to what I wanted. Lauren answered my questions directly. Lauren engaged with me. Lauren did not try and tell me I had to clear an hour in the morning to clean my face and moisturise. She LISTENED to the fact I had 10 minutes before I legged it to 412 other jobs (a lesson Woman 1 could well do with learning!) And on top of Lauren’s genuine interest in supplying what I the customer needed. Lauren had beautiful skin. (Woman 1 and 2’s makeup and skin were nowhere near as naturally immaculate as Lauren’s)
The fact is Lauren ticked all the boxes to make the sale;
She listened to what the customer wanted.
She answered the questions that the customer wanted answering.
She matched the needs of the customer with their products.
She acted like she cared about the customer.
But most importantly she gave the customer a really pleasurable experience that I will remember and I WILL go back – now who would like customers that automatically come back?
And lastly she was congruent to everything she said, and this gave her credibility.
Mmmmm amazing what a cosmetic counter can tell you about marketing.
I suppose if someone had asked me a few months ago, what networking does for your business I would have listed the obvious;
I would have said it connects me with my ideal clients, it finds me solutions to my business, it basically ensures that I have what I need to succeed in business through a vast network of contacts and business associates.
I know that for some it still proves to be a struggle to make networking effective (ie, it helps you sustain and grow your business.) and the problem for many is they tackle networking in the wrong way.
It is about getting to know other people. For years sales and marketing gurus have been talking about getting to know, like and trust people and this is imperative in every format of your marketing strategy that truly ensure that this is being allowed to happen. So networking is not your opportunity to run around a room selling at people, it is about the basic essential knowledge that every sales person needs to know and that you are probably already aware of that people buy from people. I know it is often banded around, but stop for a moment and think about this statement.
The last time you were networking (and here you can now add social networking too) what was your approach? Was it how can I help you? Was it “here are some free connections/ideas/solutions for you and your business? Or was it top heavy with we are brilliant, and we do this and we do that?
From day one of a networking relationship it needs to be about the other person and their business needs. Think about this, if you are seriously doing this, then in every situation everyone would be doing their best for everyone else and thus everyone would get the results they were looking for. Great right?
But a word of caution.
It is an investment of your time and your money, as with any area of your marketing strategy so invest wisely. Test and measure the impact of your networking. Do you need to network in more than one place? With a different group of people? Or do you need to reconsider your networking style?
So you know what networking can do for your business success right, but here is a thought from someone who is considered a super connector. (Not my words I hasten to add)
I have always gone out of my way at every opportunity to answer the question for you “What can I do to help you?” in doing this I know that I am now considered a valuable person to network with and know, which means that when someone is ready to buy the first person they will think of is me. Remember you cannot dictate when someone is ready to buy however you can determine who they remember first when they are ready to buy. But just as importantly I recently learnt another power that networking has.
After experiencing a year of continual illness I’m glad I have a powerful marketing strategy because something that was not listed on my marketing production line (ask me about it sometime) was other people networking.
You see despite being unable to “get out there” my business didn’t suffer, new customers continued to contact me and business has steadily continued to grow. Because?
Because I have been a tireless campaigner for other people’s business success guess what happened when the chips were down and I needed help?
You guessed it.
I was inundated with offers of help and support.
So effective networking will not only provide you with contacts, potential customers and the answers to your business success. It also becomes a powerful ally to your marketing strategy.
So today ask yourself is your networking powering your success?
If not what do you need to do?
And if I can help feel free to give me a call – 07989935556 or see you at an Essex BWN event soon.
Best wishes and Happy Business
This week 1 business woman told me that I helped her get her biggest contract of 2011, another I got on ITN news and another told me where she was close to quitting she now has 3 employees – knowing me is dangerous!