By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
I was researching articles on networking for this month’s Musings and came across this piece by Angela Hill, president & creative director of Incitrio, a sustainably-minded branding agency located in San Diego, CA. Angela put together the great tips below that summed the topic up easily.
“Successful networking is basically the same thing as personal branding, and at the end of the day, it’s all about developing a good strategy. Think of your networking strategy in terms of a two-pronged approach: 1) Events where your target audience or circle of influencers are most likely to be and, 2) Events that match your personal interests.
BusinessNetworking—For the business networking events, make sure to pick a time of day when you’re at your peak. For example, if you are a morning person, only go to breakfast events. If you are a night owl, go to evening socials and dinners. By choosing a time of day when you are at your best, you’re guaranteed to reduce the nervousness factor and make it easier for yourself to meet new contacts.
Networking is like Dating—People buy from people they like, know and trust. Great sales, and therefore networking, is all about building long-term relationships. So, if you think about networking like dating, the rules are fairly straightforward: be a good listener, make eye contact, don’t act desperate, don’t have a triple espresso before you show up, shower, dress nice and smile.
Control the Conversation— Another tip is to strategically control the conversation. People love to talk about themselves and the more they talk, the more they feel good about you. So, start the conversation by asking them questions about themselves and be genuinely interested. Find ways to connect what they’re saying to what you do or how you can help them. Eventually, they’ll get tired of talking about themselves and ask what you do. That’s your golden opportunity to modify your elevator pitch and integrate key points that came up earlier into what you say.It shows you’re actively listening, and you can customize/integrate what you do into a problem they’re trying to solve or a value-added benefit to their client list.
Convert Prospects Faster—Finally, be sure to followup! Send an email or a personal note after an event, ideally the next day. Connect with them via LinkedIn while you’re still on top of their mind. If it’s a really good potential contact, suggest a virtual coffee or lunch meeting in 2-3 weeks so that it’s non-threatening but keeps the momentum going. The more you do, the closer you get to the close of the sale.”
Happy and Safe Retailing,
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Independent retailers and small business owners juggle the challenges, as well as the benefits, of working with family and friends day in and day out. It’s these close knit relationships and the level of trust and loyalty formed throughout the years that impact the state of the business at any given time.
I have worked from home 90% of my adult life and know all too well the struggles of juggling both family life alongside running/keeping a business healthy and strong. It’s a huge challenge to say the least!
And if that wasn’t challenging enough... enter 2020 — the year that our entire world changed. Every business, family and person on the planet has been deeply impacted, turning many lives upside down.
It was sudden and immediate. Problem. Reaction. Solution. Businesses were shuttered. Assembly lines stopped production. Corporate closed their offices, requiring many employees to implement a work-from-home model. Solution strategies were implemented virtually overnight, with minimal time for businesses to efficiently plan for a smooth transition. Communications broke down in the transition to home offices due to security and privacy concerns. Frustration is high even to this day as many businesses are still limping along with broken and inefficient systems. The way we have had to do everything over the last year has changed not only how we do business, but how we do life.
As stressful as it has been, there is a silver lining many of us are discovering on this journey. For many, this has been a time of soul searching during this transition period. We’re discovering the ability to get more work done in far less time without the water cooler distractions, allowing us more time for life’s little pleasures. Th sire to go back to the old way of working is losing its allure for some, as we find a greater sense of balance and quality of life.
Running a family-owned business reminds us each and every day that relationships are what matters most. The need and desire to connect by coming together with both family and friends, as well as our customers and clients is more important now than ever. Honoring humanness is the key to success. It not only makes us better in business, ultimately it makes us better as people.
So, yes, sometimes our businesses may temporarily suffer because of how closely our relationships are interwoven with them. But most of the time, these relationships are the foundation — the very reason why we flourish.
To a balanced life,