Network Marketing: Make It Work For You
Frank Danzo, EOD Senior Partner
Most people, when looking to purchase a product or service, ask others they know and trust for advice. Personal recommendations from people with first-hand knowledge or experience about the product or service carries significantly more influence than any other source of information.
Similarly, personal referrals can provide a great source of new clients if you make it easy to join your sales force. In order to do this, however, you have to sell yourself in a clear and memorable way. There are two questions that facilitate answers that others will remember.
Question #1: What are you selling?
For others to successfully sell your products or services, they need to know the specifics of your offerings so they can share the information. A tag line is a great way to do this. For example, a graphic designer who created websites and print advertisements marketed herself with this message: “Turning mental ideas into visual images.” Likewise, an IT consultant developed this description: “Improving productivity through improved systems and processes.” Both messages are short, clear, and easily remembered.
Question #2: What types of clients do you want your referrals to solicit?
Once your message is defined, you need to direct your sales force to the target market. To do this, offer specific examples of past clients as well as companies you have not yet converted or approached. To continue the above example, the graphic designer defined her target market as: “Businesses needing to communicate and increase the visibility of products and services.” Similarly, the IT consultant defined his target market as: “Small to mid-size companies that need to improve productivity and more effectively use information.” The more specific the message and target market, the more effective your sales force will be.
Measurable objectives that track performance are necessary in order to efficiently utilize networking in your selling process. The following five objectives offer a great starting point:
- Time Allocation
- Determine how much time per week you want to invest in your network marketing. Track where you spend time each day to build discipline into your workweek.
- Review your objectives weekly.
- Adjust your priorities to keep focused.
- Face-to-face Meetings
- Determine the number of phone calls and/or emails you will need to make to set up networking meetings with acquaintances. (On average, it takes six contact attempts to set up one face-to-face meeting.)
- Determine how many meetings you want to schedule each week.
- Make the contacts and schedule the meetings.
- Share your marketing message and target market during the meetings.
- Number of Referrals per Meeting
- Obtain referrals from the meetings for the expectation of attaining new clients.
- Set a goal for how many referrals you want to acquire at each face-to-face meeting.
- Percentage of "A" Quality Reviews
- Evaluate your referrals to ensure they are your target market. If the referrals are not quality, perhaps it is time to refine your message and/or target market to make it more specific. Networking should not be a random process.
- Review Progress (Once a Quarter)
- Track your performance to determine if adjustments are needed.
- Limit adjustments to your message or metrics to one change per quarter. Otherwise, you will not be able to accurately measure the impact of changes.
With a focused message, target market, and disciplined approach, everyone you come in contact with can eventually work for you. No matter your line of business, soon your name will be the one offered when somebody is looking for a personal recommendation.