Hi it’s Chris, the Enabled Entrepreneur and in this post I am going to explain how to be more effective at networking when you are Blind.
When I first started my business I was convinced that I must attend every single networking event I could find and the business contacts would grow. The reality was somewhat different. Initially, I met many people at all manner of events and explained who I was, what I thought I did and convinced myself that it was just a numbers game, surely a return on my investment was just around the corner.
It was when I was searching for an answer to why my networking was costing me money and time that I thought there really must be a better way.
Deep down I knew what the problem was, it was me getting in the way of me. Those of you reading this with sight loss will understand this better than most. Because I do not see facial expressions, I had no way of really knowing if other people found anything I had to say remotely interesting. I thought that provided they were still appearing to be listening, then they must be – wrong!
This was what I wanted to believe and the sooner I realised that the opposite was true, the better. Although the lesson was that my message did not resonate with everyone, I had no real idea how to address the problem. However, I was much further ahead than many of those I helped, because I was at least prepared to accept that most business networking is a poor use of time and costs a great deal of money.
But, here’s a thing.
Business networking requires a ‘CONGRUENCE‘ between your products addressing the needs of your Ideal Customer. My customer’s do not attend these type of events. Yes, if I wanted an Accountant, a Web Developer or my pick of Social Media Gurus, there was no end of people to throw my money at. So, there was a ‘Disconnect‘.
I almost found the answer by trial and error. My connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were in the thousands. It was at this time that I started to see these Social Media Platforms as Networks. If you think about it, remove the words Media and Platform, you are left with Social Networks. I also realised that Groups are also Networks. So I asked myself, how did I like to be treated on LinkedIn and Facebook. I disliked the impersonal approach where you just accepted an invitation and did not follow through. That’s really like speaking to someone and they simply look you in the face and walk away without a word. I made it a ‘Habit’ to say thank you, ask about what they did and strike up a CONVERSATION. I also showed real interest in them and how I could help.
But here’s the big learning for me. I stopped accepting requests from people who did not fit my Ideal Customer Avatar or couldn’t help me to reach those that would value my products and services. I very quickly learned to use the ‘Delete’ key. If, in spite of my attempts to strike up a CONVERSATION, I was not getting a response, it was simple. Good bye. This did lead to my overall combined Social Network facing regular contiguous culls.
You need to provide all the help you can reasonably afford from a time perspective to this Social Network. But you can only do this by drilling down using a Sales Funnel Methodology. Join Groups where you would expect to come across those who are your Ideal Customer Avatar. If you are a Coach, don’t join any Coach Groups, unless your mission is to serve them as your customer. You don’t go to the Fishmonger to buy a steak, do you? I created an ebook and a FREE online course, just to earn the right to work with you guys.
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If you don’t listen to anything I have said so far, you really do need to wake up and smell the coffee. You need to make contact and arrange a coffee if they live close by or a chat on the phone. These are now ‘WARM LEADS’. But if you don’t treat them right, the feelings will start to fade and very soon, it really is too late.
I learned that provided you have followed the other 3 lessons, this bit is where the rewards are there if you believe in what you do and have established an ONLINE RAPPORT. Believe it or not, if you think this really is the stuff of fantasies, why then do so many people subscribe to internet dating sites? Most of humanity is seeking a CONNECTION with people who are the same as them.
But a note of CAUTION!
Only reach out and take this next step with those who are genuinely interested in what you do. If you do this, there is no need for a hard sell and guess what? You’ve already revealed a great deal about who you are including any health condition or Disability, so you can now just be your TRUE, AUTHENTIC, TRANSPARENT version of you and best of all, they already TRUST you. You are well on the way to becoming a C.A.T.T.
You have been learning how to be more effective at networking when you are Blind.
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