Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is showing up.” And whatever you may think of the controversial comedian-director, he’s onto something there when it comes to winning new business.
If you offer a solution to someone’s problem and are standing right in front of that person, you have a far better shot of getting the job than a competitor down the street.
Of course, you can’t spend your days sitting on your prospects’ doorsteps, waiting for them to call out your name. You can, however, keep your business front-of-mind with strategic networking efforts that include as many of the following three elements as possible:
- Face Time: Nothing is as powerful as an in-person meeting, and nothing is more annoying than an individual in your face, trying to sell something. So, find ways to spend time with potential clients without giving them the hard pitch. Listen more than talk. Go to their events and attend those activities that they are likely to attend, and ask to meet them for a cup of coffee to catch up with one another.
- Information: Tell the business community – especially those with whom you have a relationship — about the expertise you offer and the work you do. Update social networks regularly, author a blog, speak at events, teach classes, provide expertise for news stories or through online professional sites, write columns for business publications and make sure those people who are in your network understand what you have to offer.
- Outreach: Regularly touch base with people you know. The note you send may have nothing to do with the call you receive. Someone who had forgotten about your existence until they heard from you may just need your services. Share information of interest through email. Write and distribute a newsletter. Remember birthdays.
But there’s a reason that Woody Allen’s advice is so often repeated, quoted and misquoted. It’s a simple message that most people don’t apply, at least with the sophistication and energy required by today’s complex social and business networking environment.
– Eric Blom