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Thread: The Power of Networking!

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    The Power of Networking!

    The Power of Networking

    In today’s financially challenging times, companies are cutting down on things that are seen as “less crucial” and unfortunately, advertising is seen to be one of theses things. What many business owners don’t understand though, is that the growth of any business is directly correlated to the number of people who know about it!
    One of the most cost effective methods of getting yourself and your business known is through networking, also known as word of mouth marketing.

    The main function of networking are becoming visible, listening and responding, being a good conversationalist, and getting to know people. Sadly though, many business owners fail at networking or are reluctant to participate due to fear of speaking out to a total stranger, choosing the wrong networking group, or expecting results overnight.
    As firm believers of networking, we have devised some tips on how to become an effective networker.

    1. Planning. You have 30 seconds from the moment you meet a person, to make a lasting impression. Make sure that you have a clever opening line prepared to introduce yourself and your business. Practice answers to questions that may be asked and have a list of questions prepared to ask others. ( A good idea is to ask about family, hobbies and the nature of their business.)

    2. Listen. People love to talk about themselves. Make a point of being genuinely
    interested in what people have to say. Remember that everyone you meet is a
    potential customer or valuable contact. The elderly man you meet may not be a
    potential buyer for your makeup range, but he may have a wife who is, or refer
    people to you.

    3. Identify your prospects. Enter a room knowing who your target market is, and
    make a point of acquiring at least two valuable business cards during the network.
    The more you network, the higher you can set your targets, but it may be a good
    idea to start small at first.

    4. Get involved. Look for ways to contribute what you know and to get your name
    out there. Participate in events, clubs and social gatherings that offer you opportunities to meet people who fall in line with who you are targeting. Keep in mind that networking is not just about making sure that everyone knows who you are and what you do – concentrate on meeting contacts with whom you can develop a win – win relationship.

    5. Have fun! Although there is a purpose to networking, don’t forget that networking
    is supposed to be fun. Relax, enjoy yourself and be confident.


    If you don’t feel comfortable with public speaking, consider other means of networking, such as the internet. Remember that as long as you are in a comfort zone, you and your business are not growing. In every situation lies an opportunity!

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Well as usual social networking can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. Here is the thing; my first hand experience is that you get elements that basically use the social network as a blackmailing tool.

    If you don’t want to do something that is asked of you by a client. That client already knows ALL your other clients and this is bad because this person will “bad mouth” you and you stand to lose big.

    Please don’t misinterpret me I do belief that social networking is a good thing but sometimes it’s a tool to be abused. This is especially true in the IT world.

    All I say is; please take care.

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    Im sorry that you had a bad experience! On the whole, social networking works in a business owners favour. If you have a valid reason for not wanting to do a certain job for a company, they shouldnt have any reason to badmouth you.

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    Once upon a time...

    ...there was a man that made and fixed blinds. He was just an ordinary folk down the road. One sunday he went to church as usual. He was approached by a very old pensioner lady who asked if he can fix her blind in the lounge. The young man agreed and after church he went to sort the blind.

    Upon his arrival he finds the old lady busy baking cookies and the house was full of cookie smell. That cookie aroma that makes you think; wow, what a wonderful smell. The lady offered the young man and she was busy telling olden days tales. The old lady showed him the blind. Upon seeing the blind the young man (let us call him WEBSTER) decided to put a totally new blind.

    When the job was done the old lady asked Webster how much it will coxt her. Webster declined and said that it was for free. The old lady insisted to pay but Webster put a virilis defensio against the lady paying.


    Months went by after Webster put that blind for free. One afternoon a convoy of luxurious cars was seen in Webster's neighbourhood. This convoy (like that of parliamentarians) came right next to Webster's house. Upon seeing that webster was very nervous and just wondered if these cars are not lost. A young man came right up to Webster's door and knocked. Webster opened the door.

    "Are you Webster Estrada?" The young man asked.

    "Yes is there anything wrong?" Webster asked.

    "No, not at all" replied the young man in a designer suit.

    In fact it transpired that this young man is the son of the old lady that Webster helped with the blind. This young man was a very successful international property developer that had just finished his very upmarket development and wanted Webster to put blinds in all hid delelopment. The young man was so impressed about the work done in her mother's little house and looked for Webster.

    Since then Webster has developed his company and is the most sought after blinds-man ever. Since then he is making it big.

    NOW! THAT IS THE POWER OF THE WORD OF MOUTH.

    HOW MANY OF US WHO PUT DELIGENCY REQUIRED IN THOSE TASK WE DO FO FREE?

    Social networking does not need to be formalised. The way you live your life is the greatest marketing tool ever.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Can I throw a small spanner in the works here.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamieschubach View Post
    One of the most cost effective methods of getting yourself and your business known is through networking, also known as word of mouth marketing.
    I'd suggest networking is a subset of word-of-mouth marketing. I'd also like to suggest active "networking" isn't necessarily as cheap as you may think.

    When I look at sales rep performance, there's a correlation between the size and quality of their network and their results. So no argument there. But when I look at what a good sales rep with a strong network costs - one can't help wonder what the results would be if the money was spent elsewhere.

    Getting word-of-mouth referrals can be had with good service and a smile - and that really doesn't cost that much. We all should be doing that.

    But I suspect ploughing your marketing budget into a deliberate active networking strategy might not be the best bang-for-your-buck option for all businesses.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Thanks for the coment Dave

    i think that could be argued two ways.

    If you compare the cost of advertising in the form of billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, television airtime etc, then the cost of networking is definitely a drop in the ocean in comparision!
    Depending on how you network and the value of the long term outcome, I find it to be profitable. The idea is not to spend a fortune.
    If a sales rep has a high network cost and a low result, then in that case it might not be profitable to network.

    You dont need to spend a lot to network effectively. Check out www.achieversclub.co.za
    Last edited by jamieschubach; 21-Sep-09 at 01:46 PM. Reason: add on

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Again a beautiful story and I must say a life lesson. Still like the man with the blinds I to do a lot of “free work” for a lot of people. Children and their mothers or fathers nock on my door with a little PC that is “broken” or the company give it away, that type of thing. Now I do fix these old and sickly systems and like I said in another post not too long ago, I get the junk to work and even spend some of my own money on the software they need. Especially for school work. It is really important to have an original digital encyclopaedia program. It is a powerful tool.

    Like I said in the previous post I am not gloating and I don’t expect a millionaire to rock up and give me an IT contract that will set me up for life. But the people I help do not always travel in the same social circle then my clients do. From this point things get complicated because there are other “elements” to my scenario. To make a long story short these “elements” can dismantle my clientele and because I refuse these “elements” there request, they are doing exactly that.

    This is my true story... and that is why I am closing down my computer contracts slowly but surely. Next year this time I want to use a computer for pleasure and to keep track of my new business “whatever that may be” all I know is I will be in control. That is also important... but not always possible.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamieschubach View Post
    i think that could be argued two ways.

    If you compare the cost of advertising in the form of billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, television airtime etc, then the cost of networking is definitely a drop in the ocean in comparision!
    Pick 'n Pay, Woolworths, Checkers et al might disagree.

    Sector and target market are relevant criteria in deciding where to spend your marketing money. And before we throw size into the mix, remember Pick 'n Pay started out as a single location store.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    I am not against a gathering of sorts but, I feel that if your target is commercial, word of mouth may not be powerful enough. The private sector and even industry however will function on “word of mouth” But it comes down to location.

    The most common location for heads of industry like your mining industry, likes “strip-clubs” that is if the head is indeed a male. The second hotspot is deep-sea fishing expeditions. You will find that most locations offer relaxed environments that is ultimately expensive.

    Fact two to four days of entertaining a head of a mining group will set you back between R10000 and R20000. That is R5000 a day! Now in that time you have to tolerate this individual and basically kiss his or her ass till you “get in with the big bosses” Total cost of this process can be as high as R40000. But if you think this is once off! I pity you!!! It never ends...

    Like I said be careful.

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