Three Questions to Ask Before You Network

How often do you network? The get out of the house and meet people type of networking?

I tend to network one to three times a week, although three times a week can be pushing it a bit for me.

Networking can feel tricky or intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! There are four main parts:

  1. Finding places to network
  2. Making time in your schedule to go
  3. What to do when you’re there
  4. What to do when you get home

And before you start any of that, there are three questions you should answer about your business. And it’s a good idea to revisit these questions at least once a year – if not more!

  1. Who are your ideal clients, the people you LOVE to work with?
    Yes, if you spend anytime online learning about marketing you’ve heard this question or some version of it about a hundred times. And you’ll keep seeing it because it’s a very important question!
    It isn’t about limiting your service or product to ONLY the people who fit that profile (although it’d be great to be in a place where you could do that, right!), it’s about knowing who you want to be talking to and tailoring what you say to them. Other people will still find you!
    And please, please, please do not say “Everyone is my ideal client!” or some version of that! Everyone might be a potential client, but they are not your ideal client.
    Think of it this way – if you go to the paint department of a home improvement store and tell the person there that you want to buy some paint, they’re going to want to know what room you’re painting and the color you want. If you don’t know the room or the color, the sales person cannot help you very much! And if they do sell you something, you’re probably not going to be happy with it.
    So, be specific! It will help others know who to refer to you.

  2. What do you do? What service do you provide or products do you sell?
    What? Does this seem too obvious?
    Take the time to answer it anyway and use your client’s words where ever you can. Oh, and be sure you think about the benefits and results of working with you or using your product.
    When you do take the time to do this you might find out that (1) what you do has slightly changed, so the way you talk about it needs to change too or (2) you’re doing the same thing you were six months ago, but the way you talk about it has changed and that has helped you greatly or you need to tweak it a bit.

  3. Who are your referral partners?
    Referral partners, also called power partners, are other people or businesses that have the same ideal client as you do, but offer a different service or product.
    Can’t think of anyone? Think about your ideal client, what other services or products are they buying or do they need?

What does this have to do with productivity or scheduling your time?

More than you might think! And you’ll want to come back each week for the next four weeks to find out more!

Next week I’ll cover finding places to network and the following weeks I’ll cover the other three topics listed above.

Now, for this week, I’d love it if you’d share your answers to the questions above in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Three Questions to Ask Before You Network

  1. As Evie knows, I’m about to get started as a virtual/personal assistant. So these are things I’m currently thinking about (and need to think about), but as I know everything is subject to change along the way. You live, you learn.

    1. I have a few ideal clients (actually 3 — long story). One is an older male who is a solopreneur of his own insurance or financial advising firm. He’s bright, articulate, active in the community, but just a little bit behind the curve on technical issues (for instance, the business cards he collects at networking events are in a shoebox). He has a LinkedIn Account, but has 5 connections and hasn’t touched his account for 2 years. He really needs help bringing his office into the social media age, and some help maintaining his activities. Since he’s bright he’s capable of doing this but it is not one of his strengths.

    2. What do I do, I do the things that make your life easier. For example:
    Database maintenance
    Creating Power Point presentations
    Proofreading services.
    Newsletters and ezine campaigns.

    3. Hmmmm

    1. Great start Mary!

      As for referral partners, think about what other services he might use or need. Maybe a Professional Organizer (perhaps one specializing in home offices)?

  2. Hi Evie,
    Great post. As you probably know, I have had my Mary Kay business for some years now and I have decided move to the next level in my business. I know that this will require that I get much more strategic in my networking skills that I have before.
    Like Mary said, I also have a few idea clients. Since I offer both a product but also a business opportunity, my ideal client is someone who first sees the value in the product and but also the potential in the business. Of course I also have clients that are solely interested in becoming a customer or maybe a hostess and some that are interested in the business opportunity before having too much knowledge of the product, so I have to cater my networking to different people.

    The referral partners suggestion is where I feel I have an untapped market. I have not explored that much yet, but would like to.

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