Networking Magic: How to Grow Your Dream Client List
I was recently asked, “Jen, I’ve worked so hard building my online presence: my blog is established, I’m sending out emails, I’ve gotten a couple clients booked in, but I want MORE. What should I do to grow my customer base?”
My immediate response was “who have you had a conversation with?”
I don’t mean on social media. I’m talking about pounding the pavement and having some good old face-to-face interaction! Oftentimes, we think DIGITAL is the only way to market our business. But I believe old-school is the way to go! Remember when people would go door-to-door? The same principle still applies today and it WORKS because you’re making that personal connection with a potential client, rather than just shoving information in front of them. They get to know the real, authentic YOU.
1. Go Door-to-Door
I encourage you to print business cards and pamphlets and start going door-to-door. See who’s in your community and create a Google Sheet on your phone so you can track information.
Here’s an example of what it should look like:
Once you’ve collected your data, ask your contact “hey, can I shoot you an email when I get back to the office so we can connect?” It’s a great way to follow-up and stay in touch.
2.It’s Not All About You
Okay, yes, it’s your business we are trying to build, but remember: networking is a two-way street. Find potential clients on social media and give them a follow or a like. Comment on their posts. Sign-up for their emails and newsletters. Become genuinely interested in their business because if you get to know them, they’re more likely to want to become interested in you. The more you put into building those relationships, the more return that you’re going to get for your business.
3. Proof Matters
Oftentimes, especially as an entrepreneur and a small business owner, people buy from us because they know, like, and trust us. And they’re allowed, they have that ability to build a relationship with you and then they buy from you. It’s the same thing when we push online reviews at Raney Day Design. It’s because social proof matters. So if you’re looking for customers and you are consistent with showing up online, bravo.
4. Find a Networking Event
Grab your business cards and Google the networking event in your town. I love Business Network International. (BNI is a leading business referral and networking organization that helps you grow your business using proven strategies. Find your local chapter HERE. If you are in the western PA area I’d love to invite you to my chapter! Click here to register for our next meeting. Just make sure to click “Visit Us” and search BNI Collaborative Chapter.
This organization is consistent, it is category specific, and I can show up every week and test my message. And I get real instant feedback if I’ve hit the mark with my message or if I missed it.
It’s important to build your brain trust. With BNI, I have connections in different job categories: a lawyer, a real estate agent, a plumber, an electrician and so on. The goal is to earn quality referrals on both ends. The more people that you connect with, the better marketer you’ll be for your business.
5. The Eyebrow Test
Want to know if a prospective client likes your marketing pitch? Just check out their eyebrows! Public communication expert Sam Horn coined the eyebrow test to use during an elevator pitch (which tells people who you are and what you do in a short amount of time).
Here’s how it works: when you introduce yourself or your business idea to someone for the first time, if their eyebrows go up, your pitch has succeeded. Your prospective client is engaged, curious and intrigued! But if their eyebrows don’t move at all or furrow, they’re either unmoved or confused and you can kiss your deal goodbye. Confused people don’t buy things.
So the next time that you’re face-to-face with someone, whether it’s on Zoom or in person, and you are pitching your business, and their eyebrows are scrunched, friend, you gotta rework that pitch!
At the end of the day, just remember: be yourself. Good old-fashioned door knocking and passing out business cards can be scary, sure! But you’ve gotta step up your game and it’s important to feel comfortable doing it. For me, I put on my heels and a suit jacket, put my makeup on, style my hair and I’m out the door. It’s a real confidence booster because if you’re confident about yourself and what you’re selling, people will buy that. What are your favorite confidence-boosters when networking? Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve tried any of these tricks I mentioned above!