I often tell my clients that the best way to start and grow a business is through word of mouth marketing (or referral marketing). But I’m always surprised by the resistance and excuses that come up from people, wanting to avoid word of mouth marketing.
Excuses I hear for avoiding word of mouth marketing:
My local BNI (Business Networking International) chapter doesn’t have any openings…
I can’t attend breakfast networking meetings…
Networking events aren’t my scene…
My business has a few contacts who have referred people to me, but they haven’t sent any referrals recently…
I don’t really know anyone who could refer to me…
All my local professionals have referral partnerships with other agents…
Referral marketing is one of four main ways to grow a business.
4 Ways to Grow a Business
- Cold Calling
- Advertising and Marketing
- PR (Public Relations)
If there are four main ways to grow a business, and referral marketing is consistently the cheapest and easiest way to grow a business, why are people resisting it so much?
Then, I realized that for most people, we don’t know what to do at a networking event. Plus, most people don’t know the formula for creating genuine relationships with people, to encourage them to refer to us (and vice versa). So, of course people are resisting it! It’s because we don’t know how to do it in a way that is authentic, genuine, and offers a good return on investment (the investment is your time, which is a valuable resource!)
So, I’ve created a list, I think you’ll love:
5 tips for ENJOYING a networking event
- Research some attendees. If you don’t know anyone at the networking event, see if you can find out who will be there. Do some research on these people, so you can recognize them and introduce yourself. Trust me, they’ll be grateful you’ve come up to them to say hi (they’re as nervous as you are!)
- Choose the perfect location. Position yourself a few steps away from the food or bar – because that’s where people hang out. If you’re too close to the food/bar, people will be distracted while they’re helping themselves to the food. But if you’re a few steps away, you can comment on whatever is on their plate, eg “the cucumber sandwiches are delicious, aren’t they?”
- Discuss things you have in common. Not sure what you have in common? You know that you have this networking event in common! So a question like “who invited you today/tonight?”
- Look for people who are standing alone. Everyone gets nervous at these networking events, so if you can go and introduce yourself to someone who is standing alone, they will LOVE YOU for coming to their rescue.
- People love people who listen to them. So, rather than looking for opportunities to tell people about yourself and your business, look for opportunities to ask people about themselves and their businesses. Be interested.
And a bonus tip!
Stay in touch with people! After you’ve swapped business cards with someone who you found interesting, contact them within 72 hours and arrange to see them for a coffee or lunch soon. Remember, networking events are great place to meet business referral partners as well as new friends!
Referral marketing and word of mouth marketing is Step 5 in my FREE Guide: 5 Things You MUST Do Right Now To Generate MORE Leads In LESS Time Than You Thought. So if you haven’t downloaded that guide yet, be sure to download it by clicking here
Maybe you’re already doing some referral marketing and you want to AMP UP your content marketing (blogs, newsletters, ebooks, etc) try the Rent Roll Starter Tool Box for just $1 for your first month and you’ll get a 30 minute planning session with me as a bonus!