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  • #16
    I think it is fantastic you take part in these meetings. Can you give us a little advice on how to get the most out of such meetings? How do you use them to market your business?

    How to Network at an Association Meeting

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    Did you know that approximately 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking?

    Needless to say, effective networking is vital to your continued business success. Very rarely
    does business just “fall into our laps.” Instead, successful business partnerships are created when
    we make an effort to target potential customers, establish communication, and cultivate longterm
    relationships.

    As a member of the home builders association, you should try to take full advantage of all the
    business-building opportunities of your membership. By getting actively involved in the
    association, you can develop a substantial network of business contacts. There is nothing like
    working side-by-side with another member on a committee or community project to learn what
    really makes them tick, and to show them what you are all about. But to get to that point, you
    first have to master the basics of networking, the first step toward connecting with other people.
    Below are the “Top 10” secrets for networking. Feel free to adapt these basics to your own
    approach, and develop a networking style that feels most natural and honest to you. You will be
    networking like a professional in no time!

    BEFORE THE MEETING
    1. Develop a memorable introduction for yourself. It should be brief (five to seven seconds)
    yet intriguing. “Hello, my name is Joe Builder, and I help people landscape the homes of
    their dreams.”
    2. Put your business cards in only one pocket of your jacket. Leave the other pocket free to
    put in business cards from your new contacts. This way, you will look prepared when you
    pull your card out easily from one pocket instead of fishing through a pile of cards.

    3. Check your appearance (and your breath)! You only get about ten seconds to make a first
    impression. Why take any chances?

    DURING THE MEETING

    4. Smile! Be friendly and show enthusiasm. People are drawn to pleasant people.

    5. Ask questions and, above all, listen to the answers. A general membership meeting is also
    a social function. Give and get information. Ask other members how long the have been
    involved in the association, what committees they serve on, or if they have ever heard the
    guest speaker before. Find out what interests them and keep on that subject. You do not
    have to know much about the topic; the important thing is to simply establish a good
    dialogue.
    6. Do not sell. Do not sell. Do not sell! This point cannot be emphasized enough!
    Networking is a means of giving and getting information; it is a mutually beneficial
    exchange. It is not a one-way street for you to make sales. It is not making one party feel
    intruded upon at an event that was intended to be fun. This is a great opportunity to find out
    about a person’s interests in a relaxed atmosphere, and to let him know how you can help
    him in the future; but do not try and close a deal at a monthly meeting or any other social
    event. There is a time for everything, and this is not the time.
    7. Hand out your business card wisely. If it is not suitable to the conversation, or if you have
    not even really had a conversation, keep your card in your pocket. Use your business card as
    a means to follow-up a personal exchange and as a way for that person to remember you.
    8. Moderate your eating and drinking. Do not drink too much, and do not be the first person
    in the buffet line. Good manners still matter a lot, especially when you are making a first
    impression.

    AFTER THE MEETING

    9. Follow-up with the contacts you have made. If you told someone at the meeting about a
    recipe she would enjoy, send it immediately with a handwritten note. Did you see a
    magazine article on that product a particular builder member was talking about? Mail it to
    him with a personalized message. Such small courtesies are remembered for a long time.
    10. Volunteer for any committee or association activity that you expect the targeted
    customer to attend, based on your earlier conversations. Volunteering for the association is
    one of the best ways to show your trustworthiness and commitment as a partner in the
    industry, and one of the best opportunities to work next to builders. Whether that means
    sponsoring an event or joining a committee or council, you can be pro-active in your
    networking strategies without being aggressive.
    Remember, the follow-up contact you make after the meeting is just as important as your initial
    encounter. Treat the potential customer or client as you would like to be treated, and you will
    definitely be on the right track to increased sales.
    Last edited by EasyPro; 01-24-2009, 07:09 AM.
    DJ Carroll
    EasyPro Property Services
    502-525-3279

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    • #17
      Great information!

      One of the points I find most fascinating is this one.

      6. Do not sell. Do not sell. Do not sell! This point cannot be emphasized enough!
      Networking is a means of giving and getting information; it is a mutually beneficial
      exchange. It is not a one-way street for you to make sales. It is not making one party feel
      intruded upon at an event that was intended to be fun. This is a great opportunity to find out
      about a personís interests in a relaxed atmosphere, and to let him know how you can help
      him in the future; but do not try and close a deal at a monthly meeting or any other social
      event. There is a time for everything, and this is not the time.
      We all have this urge to fulfill our immediate gratification desires. We want to go to a meeting 'make it worth our time' by leaving with sales. If we don't then we may feel like this meeting was worthless. However, this point really hammers home, the meetings are there to allow you to meet others, who down the road will help you grow financially.

      Have you found this to be the case too? Is it difficult to not try and make sales on the spot some how? Or what is your view on this?

      Also which point did you find most important from your list?
      - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
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