"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals." ~ Melody Beattie
We are starting to feel the summer heat here in Texas! We’re grateful to have had a really nice cool rain filled spring this year in Austin though.
For years I’ve heard other networkers talking about 'summer slowdown' and sometimes even 'shut down' in their businesses. We know that people get busy with kids out of school and vacations so automatically think that they don’t really look for services, products, or starting a new business opportunity they might be thinking about until September. Same thing happens during the holiday months. So many networkers just decide not to really get out there and market their services/products and opportunity right now. They decide to start up again in August.
Wow your competition has gotta love you for playing the grasshopper! You're probably heard the story right? While you’re the grasshopper, your competition are the ants socking it away for their fall harvest! Here’s the scoop gang. If you have a real solid solution that solves someone’s problem, they are going to buy or join you in your enterprise year round! Don’t be deceived by the 'summer slowdown' gossip. Some of my best months have been in the summer months. Savvy entrepreneurial networkers will take advantage of this and seek out their ideal business contacts and customers and promote like crazy all during the summer months! At the park, the pool, barbeques, outings, etc. And
Let’s talk about places you can meet more people to connect with about your business, product and/or services. What you do is engage in a conversation with them; it’s not to try and sell them into your products/services immediately. That hardly ever works! These are places where I've made connections and built relationships. So can you!
What about your current and past connections -
What a great resource for you. Some people might be thinking, "Well, of course current and past contacts would refer people to me" but what happens is that they simply do not remember…unless we ask them (even if they had a good experience with us.) They might be thinking about referring someone to you but their busy life and work gets in the way. Let current and past contacts know that you have some openings in your business and that you’re looking for some terrific contacts just like them. You can say, "I always enjoyed working with you in the past and currently have about 4 spots open in my business or I'm starting a new business and looking for some savvy networkers to run with me in this. I’m wondering who might be in your circle that needs the same kind of products/services and someone it might be worth having a conversation with." By asking current and past contacts in a very direct and overt way, you’ll usually get a few referrals.
What about all the people who’ve expressed interest in doing business or ordering products from you in the past but didn’t for one reason or another -
We’ve all had conversations or consultations with people who didn’t step forward to work with us or purchase products/services from us for one reason or another. Follow back up with those people and see if they are up for a “catch up” conversation. Let them know you are just catching up with them to see how and what they are doing these days. Often, if a certain amount of time has passed and their situation hasn’t really changed, maybe it’s been 6 months since you first had a conversation and now they’re still struggling with the same things that they were struggling with earlier, it’s likely they will be more motivated to say, "You know what? Things are pretty much the same or my husband lost his job or I lost my job and we really could use some extra income right now. I could really use your help, what are you up to these days?"
Another good reason to connect with people to do a ‘catch up’ is if you’ve got a new product package or program or different opportunity than you had when you first spoke with them. Pick up the phone and reach out to them again and say, "Hey, I’ve got a new opportunity/product that I thought might be perfect based on our last conversation and I’d like to run it by you."
What about all the people you consider friends and fans?
Create a "friends and fans list". This is a list of anyone that are open to hearing from you such as friends, acquaintances, family members, neighbors, colleagues, people you’ve worked with in former jobs, people you know from volunteering activities, book clubs, your local Curves or gym, or your church. These are the contacts who are happy to hear what you’re up to these days. Reach out and let people know what's going on in your neck of the woods and that you have a few openings in your business or you’re starting a new business and having a business open house or just meet over lunch or for a cup of tea. Your friends and fans already know, like and trust you. Become proactive and make it happen. You can do this easily now too using Facebook.
Just drop a note to those on your friends and fans list. Do this 5 or 10 a time and say, "I’m starting a new business or I’ve got a new product line and ask, "Who do you know that’s looking for ways to earn some extra income or insert something about the benefits of your particular product?" “Who do you know who’s tired all the time? Who do you know who needs more energy? Who do you know who’s suffering with pain, can’t sleep, etc.” And again, if you ask people very directly, "Who do you know…", don't be surprised if a number of people on your friends and fans list come through and give you ideas of who they know and it could even be them!
Networking through Meet up Groups & Facebook
You’ve probably heard of www.meetup.com right or perhaps you’ve attended some Meet Ups in your area. If not, be sure to drop by the website and enter your zip code and all the networking groups in your area will show up. Put in keywords to search as well. Say for example you’re a realtor or insurance professional you can enter in different keywords and a zip code and find all the groups that meet within a 2, 5, 10 or 25 mile radius of where you live.
Either attend a group and meet the members that way or offer to be a speaker at one of their events. Contact the organizer and mention, "I’ve got a 20 to 30-minute interactive presentation I’d love to do for your group. How can we make that happen?" When you look into the different groups, you can easily see who the organizer is and email or call them directly. Find out if he or she would be interested in having you conduct a presentation about your service and/or product.
Prepare some sort of talk based around products or services you are passionate about. For instance, health/wellness, weight loss, gluten free, finances, home business taxes, etc. At the end of your talk, offer people the opportunity to consult with you personally about their specific needs and/or request.