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Networking, Guerrilla Style

November 1, 2012

A browse along the Humby Library Shelves uncovered this absolute gem.

From

Guerrilla Marketing’s Golden Rule #44:

To network properly, ask questions, listen to answers, and focus on the problems (and challenges) of the people with whom you network.

THE GUERRILLA KNOWS that the purpose of networking is to learn of people’s problems so that the guerrilla can provide the correct solutions. The guerrilla sees networking as socializing with a business purpose.

Measuring networking

Networking with the idea of selling yourself is the wrong mindset. Don’t waste your energy talking. Use it to listen instead. Give other people a chance to talk. If you do your networking with the right people, almost all of those people will be prospects. One of the yardsticks by which you can measure your networking is the percentage of prospects that become clients. The higher that number, the better your networking.

Another yardstick is the amount of information gathered. The more you learned, the better you networked. One more measurement: generosity. The more you gave, the better you networked. Give something such as important information, concisely presented, or a lead to a prospect for your prospect. The more your tidbit of data helps the person you told it to, the better you did your networking. These are among the potpourri of opportunities for the guerrilla networker.

In the 1960s, networking was associated with progressive, even radical, organizations that shared information on themes such as peace, the energy crisis, and the environment. In the 1980s, the word networking became part of our mainstream vocabulary, used by everyone from budding entrepreneurs to the giant AT&T, which suggested that businesspeople do more of it—on the telephone.

By 1989, Webster’s Dictionary defined networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions.” It did not identify it as the superpower marketing tool it can be for a guerrilla.

A pure form of marketing

Networking is an honest and natural way to establish trust and nourish relationships. It is personal marketing in a pure form. Many of the guerrilla marketing weapons are involved: your attire, your personality, your enthusiasm, your credibility, your neatness, your smile.

Your job is simple: ask questions. Home in on the problems faced by the person’s company. Probe by asking more questions. Tell your reasons if you’re asked about your curiosity: your company markets solutions to many problems; perhaps you can help this person who is becoming both a business contact and a friend.

Your networking strategy

To do the best job of networking, create a written strategy—that’s right, a networking strategy. It requires only three pieces of information and keeps you on target in selecting networking sessions and getting the most from them.

A networking strategy states first the purpose of your networking, possibly to learn of problems your company can solve. Then it lists the item of value you will be giving away, maybe a piece of information of value to the people at the gathering. Finally, your strategy outlines the groups with whom you will network, so that you know which invitations to seek and which to turn down. It is better to enter a networking situation with this data than without it. Otherwise you have a good chance of getting distracted by the sounds of other networkers blowing their own horns.

Armed with marketing materials in the form of business cards or minibrochures—now you know why so many guerrillas have business cards that double as minibrochures—you seek out conferences and conventions your prospects are likely to attend.

Don’t waste your time joining peer networks unless you want to establish alliances. Go where the prospects are. Community events are often a rich source of contacts. But you may have a company that could gain zero new business from such events.  Network with discrimination.

Contacts are always good to have, and the more the better. But contacts are a by-product of networking. Problems are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Allowing prospects to talk with you about them will enable you to show your understanding and to offer helpful advice. It will serve as an ideal springboard for your future direct mail and telemarketing to these prospects. You’ll be able to refer back to your conversation about the problem. You’ll be able to set the stage for your solution.

Guerrillas take notes

Your prospect will remember you because you’re the one who asked all those questions and listened so attentively. You even took notes! And you came up with a couple of bright suggestions.

Networking is also an ideal forum for bartering.  As long as they are not your peers and competitors, some people in the group will be more than willing to trade their products or services for yours. Sometimes this is the right way to make purchases. I’ve done it several times and have no regrets. To the contrary, I have a solar heating system, giant-screen TV, and memories of two first-rate cruises as a result of bartering. Some of that bartering came as a result of networking—and seemingly the trade arose from nowhere. I was asking questions, that’s all.

Creating networking opportunities

  • If a guerrilla wants a convenient networking situation, the guerrilla creates it. You need four elements to succeed:
  • A guest speaker with a hot topic
  • A chance for all in attendance to introduce themselves, make an announcement, and hand out a card or brochure
  • Things to eat and drink
  • A list of the right people to invite—your prospects

Give careful thought to what you’ll say when you introduce yourself and make your announcement. Because you’ll be doing a whole lot of listening and not much speaking, this is your big chance to say the most important thing you can during the few seconds you have.

Planning what you’ll say is the only way to proceed if you’re serious about succeeding in life. Winging it is wasting a precious opportunity. I’ve seen people blow it during these situations more than I’ve seen them shine.

You know that time is the investment you will be making when you begin to network. That means you must spend your networking time only with people who can become major customers. Don’t be charmed by that person who might be dandy at the beach, but is a waste of your time at a networking function. Guerrillas keep their priorities straight. Did I say it was easy?

Establish relationships with a small number of people. You want closeness, not quantity. You can’t find out a person’s problems in just minutes. But if you limit your networking conversations, you can get a good start on your task of spotting problems.

There will always be more networking functions where you can meet more people. At each gathering, limit your conversational partners, but not your conversational intensity. This is easy to do with questions. Questions reveal problems, and this golden rule leads you from problems to profits.

Be a guerilla here…….

If you want to participate in some Guerilla Networking – it’s not in the dead of night or before dawn – it’s at lunchtime!

It won’t be in the back end of beyond – fantastic venues in Exeter, Bristol and Taunton

Rations are not provided – just a served 2 course lunch with wine (only if you want it) and coffee

Business Network SW  provides decision makers from businesses in the South West the opportunity to develop and enhance mutually beneficial relationships
 Do you want to generate opportunities that will enhance your business?
Do you want to build mutually beneficial relationships with other decision makers?
Do you want your networking to relaxed and comfortable?
How about business seminars that can positively impact your business?
Would a huge variety of contacts be useful to your business?
Do you want the opportunity to promote your business and expertise?
Do you want a team of advocates and ambassadors for your business?

Interested

Complete the enquiry form here and your personal invitation will be emailed to you

Call  01981 540708

Email sean@business-network.co.uk

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