Sunday, September 8, 2013

Key to success is networking

I have just returned from TechEd Australia and I get plenty of questions about whether it was worthwhile. The problem is that most of these questions are only concerned about the content of the presentations. To my mind the most important things about these sort of events is networking.

It amazes me at how ‘old world’ many business still approach marketing. They waste all their time doing things like flyers, attempting to optimize SEO and so on. If you really reckon flyers work then can I ask you how many YOU read and act on? None, I’ll bet. As for SEO, do you really want random people typically shopping around for the cheapest price as a customer? Not me.

If it is one thing that I have learnt over my time in business, and something that I should have a adopted much sooner, it is business networking. These days that typically also means engagement with social media.

The first place you should be starting is Linkedin, which you can probably best consider as business to business social media. Make sure that your profile there is complete and contains as much detail about yourself. Next, start connecting with people you know. Then start asking for testimonial and endorsements.

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If you look at my profile you’ll see that I have over 500 connections (actually well over 700 actually). How would you ever achieve that without social media?

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Apart from written testimonials you’ll find others endorsing your skills. As you can see from my current list above over 99 people have endorsed me for SharePoint and Cloud Computing. These endorsement have been made by my contacts without solicitation by me. Those numbers are pretty powerful when a prospect starting looking you up and see’s how well you are endorse by others! Speaks much greater volumes about your skills than a flyer you put together I reckon.

The real secret to being a business success I believe is attracting people to you. As I have said before, you want to be the moth not the flame. You cannot of course be the flame if you simply sit there and do nothing. You have to work out a strategy that will attract people. How do you do that? Simple. Work out what they want and give it to them.

You can’t be everything to everyone so pick a niche and then niche that niche and niche it some more. You want to aim to be an inch wide and a mile deep rather than the other way around. The only way generalists success is by selling HUGE volumes.

So:

1. Work out your target audience

2. Work out what you target audience needs

3. Create offerings for the needs of this audience

4. Starting networking and attracting this audience to you

The tools for successful networking are now so cheap. Social media is typically free and probably the most expensive outlay when it comes to networking would be shouting someone a cup of coffee when you meet face to face.

And you really want to spend thousands on SEO optimization? REALLY?

If the secret to successful business is networking then the secret to successful networking is helping people. If you help people, they will continue to seek you out. In most cases they’ll be happy to pay you for this help. Simple eh? Why does it have to be any more difficult than that?