A commonly accepted business philosophy is that people do business with people they know, like and trust. We buy something because we perceive it to have a greater value to us that what it costs us. Sometimes we place a higher value on a product or service because we know, like and trust the people behind it.
Often, though, we perceive value without first establishing that personal relationship. For instance, would you rent office or warehouse space because you liked the property manager? Do you go to a doctor you met through a friend if they aren’t covered by your insurance plan? Would you choose to buy a computer operating system other than the one included in the price of your PC? I know, like and trust several competing telecommunications representatives, but my choice of providers was the value and reliability of the of the service.
While relationships can add value that differentiates similar products and services, seeking the products or services themselves usually comes first in the buying decision process. In the search for what’s valuable to us, we first have to know that you and your products and services exist. Visibility is the first step in the buying decision.
Inbound and outbound marketing and networking are the tools for making your products and services visible. It can take as many as seven impressions for us to decide something holds value to us. Your bottom-line benefits most from a diverse, integrated approach that includes traditional, digital and face-to-face marketing.
If networking is the face-to-face tool for staying visible in your market, speed networking is one of its most effective mediums. So what is speed networking (A.K.A. Switch Networking or Power Networking), and why include it in your plan? It is similar to speed dating, but with the goal of making many valuable connections rather than just one. Ivan Misner, the founder of Business Networking International (BNI), says it well, “It’s a good tool for business people to apply the “visibility” stage of the VCP Process TM–Visibility, Credibility, Profitability” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/180954#
Here are its benefits:
- You can make more connections in less time
- You become proficient at communicating your market value clearly and concisely
- Face-to-face contact is very memorable and effective in building relationships
- The structured format is an ice breaker – no awkward introductions or wall flowers
- The fast pace inspires attendees to be concise in their introductions
- The appeal of fast, fun, face-to-face networking draws more new faces than typical networking events
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” Robert Kiyosaki