(Franchise Marketing) Make The Most Of Local Networking
Franchise marketing is what we focus on here at visions2images, but local networking applies to any business. You need to network; you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Listen to the podcast here
Local networking events are a great asset to marketing. Picking which events to attend can be confusing, and your time is valuable. Make sure it will be beneficial in the long run.
You should know who your audience is. This will help you target the right businesses.
People ask me
- Which networking groups to attend?
- How do I know which ones to attend?
- I have five franchises, and I’m not sure which ones I should be at.
Since the pandemic hit, there has been a lot of transformation in how people network. You can attend virtual events, or you can go to in-person events, but we still need to choose the right events. So it depends on what your goal is for the events.
Here are some things to think about before we dive into the steps to take. Do we want to connect with people? Do we want to grow, or do we want to share?
There are those three different pieces. My goal is that I want to get speaking gigs or share my business with others.
If you want to grow locally, then I would highly encourage you to do paid ads through a chamber, vendor, and sponsorship levels through different things.
- Connect with your local chamber: I go through a list at least once a month, if not twice a month. I look at which ones I want to attend, which ones cost money, and which ones don’t cost money. Can I fit it into my schedule, or is it just not feasible? Often, virtual can be good for networking, but I always love in-person. It seems virtual is more challenging to connect with somebody.
- Prepare in advance: When you narrow down which events you would like to go to, you want to make sure you prepare in advance. You want to know who might be attending. Most times, with more significant events, they give a heads-up of who’s attending, and who’s sponsoring. It is also good to have your elevator speech and authority statements prepared and be confident about what you do, who you are, and how you help serve businesses. You often don’t have time to sit down and talk to each person for 15 or 20 minutes at networking events, so you have to be quick with your introductions. There’s this great feature on LinkedIn, where if you’re near somebody, you can connect with them on the platform, and then that’s a way into their social circle
- Go alone: You want to make sure that you can connect with ideal people for your business. If you bring a friend, you might get distracted. When you’re connecting with people, you want to find something special and unique about them, so when you do the follow-up at the end, you can have something personalized for them. It may take three-four months before they become a client or before they send a referral if there is a great connection there.
- Listen to the other person: If you are not listening to the other person, it makes it harder for you to follow up, and you want to have that personalization to build a relationship. If you can’t take something away from them and they can’t take something away from you, then there’s no point in any networking. What matters is how you connect with somebody and what you bring to the table, and what they’re bringing to the table. There are tons of marketing agencies and insurance agencies. There are tons of competitors in every category. Be authentic to yourself because number five will be nearly impossible if you’re not doing that.
- Follow-up: Say you met somebody at a networking event, conference, or convention, and you liked the connection you had. What do you do now? Did you connect on LinkedIn or other social media platforms? Did you check out their website? What can you do to create a great relationship? At the end of the day, if we can’t make a great relationship, there is no point in going to the event. You can follow up through a LinkedIn message or send an email. Sometimes I will start the conversation on LinkedIn and then get their email and go there. I usually say, hey, it was great to meet you; I liked talking about (enter topic). Would you be interested in hopping on a call to get a conversation going and how we can help one another? However, you have to know what to say and be specific. Otherwise, it’s just a canned email. Chances are, they’re probably not going to read it and reply if it is a canned email. When you follow up, make sure you’re connected on other social media platforms with them and that you are checking out their pages and their website.
Networking is effective and a great way to increase your local visibility. I love being able to serve my clients in a variety of ways such as this topic.