Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: How do you network to increase your client base?

  1. #1
    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Pretoria (National)
    Posts
    976
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 52 Times in 48 Posts

    How do you network to increase your client base?

    Hello Everyone,

    I would love to know from you how do you network to increase your business client base?

    Do you,
    1. Network informally at social events?
    2. Are you part of a networking organisation?
    3. Do you use forums like this to network?
    4. other forms of networking?

    If you could also give an indication of how successful\unsuccessful the networking types you use are.

    Reason I am asking is that I recently joined a networking organisation and I am starting to doubt the usefulness - this could be due to a few reasons, ie. networking organisations don't work, this particular one does not work, the people are not a correct fit!

    Would love to hear how you network
    Visit our online store SINGHMS RETAIL and sign up to receive a 10% discount off your first purchase.
    Follow us on our facebook page SINGHMS RETAIL FACEBOOK for instant updates.
    New products and discounts added daily.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    4,270
    Thanks
    1,656
    Thanked 439 Times in 386 Posts
    Blog Entries
    3
    The most profitable networking is done at night at the local "high end clubs/bars" most of the time the biggest deals I was involved in was done there. So one can classify it is as a social event but informal. Success rate is very high. "Note it also comes down to who knows you and to whom they will introduce you too"

    Social networking via the net/forums are good for getting the word out and participation shows intend and base character, you also enjoy exposure. Success rate is dependent on you to make it work. I give it a high success rate.

    Formal Social events for marketing "is low success and a waste of time" everyone there looks to network towards a possible client and the client base is limited. Depending on the venue client base and participation I give this type of networking a moderate to low success rate.

    It also helps to identify market players in those events and who may benefit in dealing with you. Know that the competition is high so bring your best cards to the table.

    That said, the most powerful networking is service and commitment towards your customers. Your customers deal with other businesses and they will always keep your name high if you provide quality service and remain affordable.

    Note this is only my opinion, what works for me may not work for someone else so it is a bit of a gamble…
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

  3. Thanks given for this post:

    Singhms (21-Feb-12)

  4. #3
    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    796
    Thanks
    212
    Thanked 150 Times in 117 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Fortunately enough, our business is finally starting to realise the potential of proper "inbound marketing". Word of mouth is now starting to take over and we are bringing in more business than we can handle without any additional advertising spend (money or time).

    I would say networking events/organisations are probably more a waste of time than a decent networking tool. Remember that everybody at a networking event is there to promote his/her own business.

    I find that the best networking comes from informal/social occasions. The sort of interaction where two people actually have a genuine interest in the lives of the other person. They are much more receptive to information when it is presented informally, coupled with genuine interest for that person's professional life.

    As for forum marketing - it's definitely and effective tool I must stress, though, that forum marketing/networking - well, most forms of networking actually - is a long term process. You will not reap any rewards simply by registering on a forum, stuffing a few links into your signature and spamming the "Ads" section. I've found that it is only after months of active, thoughtful participation that you start to bring in leads through forum marketing. Credibility on a forum is a mini-goldmine.

    As tec0 pointed out - keeping the customers that you do already have more than happy is probably the best form of networking you can ever do. We try to go over and above - exceeding expectations set by price and industry standards - and more often than not, this really pays off for us.

    The important thing that many people don't seem to get is that networking is a two-way street. Far too many people put themselves and their businesses on a pedestal and expect people to want to hear all about them. Posting a link/ad somewhere is not networking. Registering on a forum and filling your meet & greet post with advertising copy, following which you are never seen again, is not networking.

    Show a little interest in the other person. More often than not he/she will reciprocate. That is networking. If you do somebody a good turn and they don't reciprocate, they are one of the aforementioned "far too many people". Move on feeling good about yourself and pitying the guy who's just missed an opportunity.

    One avenue I have found to be rather effective is LinkedIn. I connect with a bunch of people that are in similar networks/industries or who I think may benefit from our services some day. Then, regularly (I try to achieve once a day - it's usually more like once a week) I pick a connection at random who I haven't found out more about and I go through their profile, take a look at everything and learn as much as I can about that person. I then type up a really thought provoking message centred around them and their businesses. I ask lots of questions - and often it's because I'm genuinely interested what that person does. Not a single word about me or Red Giant Design is said in the first message. Now let me tell you that this is probably one of the most effective ways of making life-long connections with people. I've had a number of super interesting discussions with connections on LinkedIn. I've learned so much and broadened my horizons in ways I never imagined. At the same time, while always concentrating on the other person, I've brought in enormous value in terms of new leads and partner projects. It's win-win for everybody!
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
    Mark My Words - Arbitrary thoughts on ordinary things

    LinkedIn | Twitter

    Bafokke Shirts - South Africa's No. 1 Fan Shirt!

  5. Thank given for this post:

    Dave A (21-Feb-12), rfnel (21-Feb-12), Singhms (21-Feb-12)

  6. #4
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Posts
    893
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 61 Times in 54 Posts
    Quote [show a little interest in the other person. More often than not he/she will reciprocate. That is networking.]

    You're right ............ so how is your day Mark ?

  7. #5
    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Pretoria (National)
    Posts
    976
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 52 Times in 48 Posts
    Mark,

    The feeling I seem to be getting from the networking group I have joined is that all they are interested in is pushing their own business service or product and not in forming any beneficial business relationships, which is the core reason why we meet. i.e. most of them seem to have selfish motives

    So on that point, in my humble opinion you are 100% correct!
    Visit our online store SINGHMS RETAIL and sign up to receive a 10% discount off your first purchase.
    Follow us on our facebook page SINGHMS RETAIL FACEBOOK for instant updates.
    New products and discounts added daily.

  8. Thanks given for this post:

    tec0 (21-Feb-12)

  9. #6
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 16 Times in 14 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Singhms View Post
    Mark,

    The feeling I seem to be getting from the networking group I have joined is that all they are interested in is pushing their own business service or product and not in forming any beneficial business relationships, which is the core reason why we meet. i.e. most of them seem to have selfish motives

    So on that point, in my humble opinion you are 100% correct!
    This is a very very unfortunate situation in our country, UK & USA are easy, people talk, people are nice and discuss things. HERE ... haha.

    We offered a large company a opensource software product we design which is used by some of the largest ISP's in the wold, we offered them a custom designed solution, with ALL the features they want, at NO COST. NO CONTRACT. NO OBLIGATION. Just to replace a wangled together piece of junk which is extremely hard to deal with, configure or extend. They basically told us to EFF OFF in a very arrogant way.

    That is one of the points that contributed to me giving up on networking or trying to help people in this country.

    I must however give Telkom and others credit, their core engineers are very nice, more than willing to discuss almost anything and anything if you sign an NDA. They are a total pleasure to deal with. But small->large businesses , forget it, I've given up. Arrogant bastards that think they know everything.
    █► AllWorldIT ~ www.allworldit.com ~ International IT Solutions
    █► Wholesale ADSL & Hosting, VPNs, Firewalls, Online Backups

  10. #7
    Gold Member Singhms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Pretoria (National)
    Posts
    976
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 52 Times in 48 Posts
    Surprisingly enough the networking organisation I joined is 1 of the largest in the world very successful in the USA, Canada, etc... 100 000's of members worldwide.

    But sadly does not work in South Africa and that I put down to maturity! We just are not mature enough to help each other out. Whats in it for me is always at the back of everyone's mind!

    Sad but true.

    I know the above is abit of a generalisation, there are lots of helpful people I know at the same time!
    Visit our online store SINGHMS RETAIL and sign up to receive a 10% discount off your first purchase.
    Follow us on our facebook page SINGHMS RETAIL FACEBOOK for instant updates.
    New products and discounts added daily.

  11. #8
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 16 Times in 14 Posts
    Totally agree with you there.
    █► AllWorldIT ~ www.allworldit.com ~ International IT Solutions
    █► Wholesale ADSL & Hosting, VPNs, Firewalls, Online Backups

  12. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Posts
    305
    Thanks
    112
    Thanked 53 Times in 40 Posts
    It looks like you talking about BNI, if it is them then I can say that I went once to a BNI meeting, I wanted to see what it was about, it's nothing as they advertise. First of all all the members are mostly one man show which need business, they believe that will get leads from the other members who don't seem very interested in your business but they rather pay attention for key words that will help them promote their business. After the meeting 3 people requested to see me and I thought well that's great they are interested in what I do, but I was completely wrong, they actually wasted my time and wanted to promote their business to me so thatnIncould sell them. i gave all of them leads, some of them closed business and they didn't even say thank you, so why would I want to deal with such people? While I was at the meeting I also discovered that few of the members have not done any business from BNI for the past year and in fact the BNI meetings were more of an outing than anything else.

    Bottom line is you need people that care about you and exciting good clients to recommend you to other people but obviously you have to ask them to do that for you, that's why your services should be always 100%

    good luck
    ---There is no traffic at the extra mile---

  13. #10
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts
    East London is a small market! (usually there is only space for one new original start up business not two and definitely not three)

    Here if you start a successfull original type of business and it starts to make money. it is days before two or three other operators are in the same business cutting prices to get market share and generally stuffing up the market.

    Now things are so bad that people who see your idea starting to be successfull and have the idea of cloning your business actually visit your premises and ask questions about where to get stock, how much and where the best deals are? you have to forcefully tell them to effoff your premises.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Litigation Help against a client
    By Cat in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Sep-11, 11:28 PM
  2. At my wit's end... What to do about shocking client?
    By Mark Atkinson in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 26-Jul-11, 09:30 PM
  3. [Article] Having the Government as your client
    By QUINN in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Jun-09, 08:40 PM
  4. How Do I Handle Client Information?
    By Eugene in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Jul-07, 09:33 AM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •