Are you looking to be just another tree in the forest, or the one that truly stands out, asks Kim Baldock:
I found myself at a networking function the other evening and did some people watching. There was a lady floating from one group to another without engaging any specific person or group. Is it nerves, or just that you need to be in the right mindset to be able to stand out and shine?
Before getting into a networking situation, do you need to give yourself a hard talking too, wear the outfit that makes you feel confident (or your lucky socks), or is it that the kids have been awake, and therefore so have you, since 4am and its lucky you’re not slumped against the wall?
This made me think about standing out in a crowd, and how all companies is are striving to do this.
The question that I often consider is: How do you shine when everyone is screaming at the same time – what is your message and how do you make sure the right person is listening?
Here are six things to consider:
1. Do you know what you’re doing?
You have seven seconds to make a first impression with someone at a networking function – have you got your messaging right, or do you fumble over what you say? It’s the same when marketing your business or brand – seven seconds and only one tenth of a second for your customer to form an opinion on your trustworthiness. Make sure you have this messaging concise, otherwise you’ll be just another voice in the chorus of noise.
2. Be passionate
Have you met someone and their whole aura sucks you dry?
You don’t need to bound out of bed to get to work every day, but be excited about sharing what you do. Passion is infectious and comes through in every aspect of your marketing campaign, from thoughtful design to tendering responses.
If you press the snooze the button on your business, maybe it’s time to find something else to do.
3. Don’t rest on your laurels
At a networking function, it’s easy to stay talking to the same comfortable clique. Even large corporates need to continue to review their marketing strategy to adapt and change.
Don’t be afraid to take a little risk and meet a new person at the next networking function, or try something new in your marketing strategy.
4. Be digital
After meeting someone at a networking or business function, then connect with them via LinkedIn, Facebook or email them for a catch up.
In this day and age your business needs to be digitally minded, and so it should be an important focus of your marketing strategy. Use social media: LinkedIn can ensure your brand and leaders are front and centre, creating visibility as thought leaders, sharing interesting topics, white papers, articles and building a professional network that can be used to leverage your business.
Additionally, blogs, short videos, tutorials, Facebook ads, search engine optimisation…. There are many useful options to consider, but first you need to consider who you want to talk to.
If your head is spinning and don’t know where to start, or you feel that the marketing world is changing so quickly, the solution is to surround yourself with competent people to help your business grow. The biggest sector of the working force now is millennials. Don’t try and learn digital speak – use someone who is a digital native and has it as their first language.
5. Time to listen
A great technique in networking is listening. People are so desperate to get their point across that often they aren’t really listening properly. This is a skill that sets people apart from the crowd.
Are you listening to your clients? Do they get frustrated with your website; are they doing repeat business with you; or are you missing out on being awarded jobs that you are tendering for?
Find out what your clients and the market think of your business, strengths and opportunities via a perception audit. The Clarity Business offer this service and the wealth of information gathered can be used to help guide a strong and impactful marketing strategy.
6. Remember to have fun
It’s Friday. A long lunch and a beer in the sun is also networking!