Networking Etiquette – 10 tips to improve your business networking

Catching up with fellow networking colleagues is an essential element to relationship building and maintaining trust within your business circles.

Whilst attending an event recently, our conversation turned to how important it is to make time to get to know people at general business networking events; one of the most effective ways to gain new clients and build trust.

The key to success is knowing how to achieve optimum results without being too aggressive and understanding the golden rules of etiquette when attending any networking event:

1. Be prepared. Arrive on time having previewed the guest list and identified two or three people you would like to meet during the event.
2. Introduce yourself. Be brave and always extend your hand and clearly introduce yourself with your first and last name and the name of your business – don’t rely on your name badge; people rarely remember written details but will be more likely to remember a confident handshake and a happy face!
3. Rehearse your intro. Briefly describe what you do, avoid long descriptions with an obvious sales pitch, instead make the tone friendly and informative.
4. Enter group conversations sensitively. Don’t barge in and take over! Approach and stand quietly for a moment or two, wait for a break in the conversation or for someone to make eye contact with you.
5. Make meaningful business card exchanges. Only exchange cards when it will be of benefit to both of you, either if they ask for one or you offer assistance with something they say they want or need.
6. Politely exit conversations. Avoid monopolizing people’s time and from being monopolized by someone else. After a reasonable time the key is to move away from the conversation by excusing yourself politely; this sometimes happens naturally when others join your group or simply say ‘Do excuse me, I’ve enjoyed speaking to you.’
7. Always introduce yourself to fellow table guests. Before taking your seat, make a point of introducing yourself to each of your fellow table guests before taking your seat.
8. Follow-up with new acquaintances. This is the most important element to successful networking; showing you are interested in the people you meet. A personal note to every person you’ve met within 24-48 hours, including calling anyone who has helped give you leads and referrals.
9. Gain permission before sharing contact details. Check they are OK for you to share their details with someone you think they might be able to help. Providing an endorsement or introducing them as an expert in their field to someone looking for their help is key in demonstrating you are someone they can trust.
10. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Time is always a challenge, and it’s too easy to give up when it doesn’t look like you’re getting anywhere with people you have built up a relationship with or feel a potential with. Continue to exchange knowledge which will add value and help to forge a strong mutual connection, but know when it’s time to step away if you can’t add value straight away.

Here’s a list of some current networking organisations in Brighton & Sussex>>>

 

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with your own marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to arrange an initial chat over a coffee!

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Converting a sale . . . . cold, warm or hot?

ChristineDaveyMarketing Converting a Sale

It has been said that to close an average sale you would have to contact a single prospect 8 times.

A typical prospect will normally move through the sales cycle from being cold then to being warm and finally, just when they’re ready to close the deal they’re hot and move into being a client or customer.

Moving through the sales cycle, the prospects in your database will start off in the cold zone – potential customers you’ve identified as a well-qualified contact, but have little or no awareness of your brand or what you do.  You would normally reach these with an initial campaign to introduce your brand and USP – possibly by a telesales campaign or direct mailing push.

Prospects become warm once they’ve been spoken to (or met) and they are familiar with your company and what you have to offer but they are not yet ready to buy. They might require more time or information to process their needs but by consistently maintaining these contacts with ongoing communication, consisting of a series of marketing activities that might include follow-up phone calls, email marketing and social media contact, you’ll have a better chance of successfully moving through to the final stage of the sales cycle.

Your hottest prospects are those who have either come to you as a referral or have been moved through the first two stages of your sales cycle at which point they will become paying customers.

It will take multiple contacts using sales and marketing tactics to move each prospect on to the next stage of your sales cycle. In order to build and maintain a successful business, developing a sales & marketing programme that combines these tactics in all three zones, is imperative to reach and motivate each group in your database.

Have you developed your sales & marketing plan this year?

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing communications, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

How to create engaging online content

Online content marketing allows you to communicate with your target customers and prospects without selling.

  • Instead of pitching your products or services you are sharing information to inform and make your buyer more intelligent; ultimately rewarding you with their business and loyalty.
  • The information you share needs to be relevant and valuable to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience to help drive traffic and profitable customer action.
  • The content needs to be consistent and ongoing; fresh and engaging content will fulfil your marketing objectives, drive traffic and build brand loyalty.
  • Effective online content is key to drive marketing, engage users and increase website conversions.

Here’s a really useful infographic from Mari Smith to help you on your way

How to create engaging content

I write your targeted online content, whether it’s for your website, blog or social media pages, which resonates with your target audience, capturing their attention and answering their needs.
I can also help you identify how to increase your online effectiveness through email marketing and get your social media sites up and running.
Contact me today by telephone 01273 772033 or on Twitter to arrange to meet for an initial chat over a coffee.

Christine Davey
Davey Marketing Brighton

7 Steps to delivering an effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

Davey Marketing: Lead NurturingTo stay engaged with future buyers, Lead Nurturing is a powerful way to deliver engaging and interesting content to your prospects – specifically those who have given you permission to stay in contact with them.

What you’re essentially doing is educating targeted sales leads, which are not yet ready to buy.  Valuable content that keeps your audience engaged can help you build a strong brand presence and engender trust long before they make a purchase.

7 Steps to delivering an effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

  1. Identify who could be interested in your product/services and obtain their details. (This could be easily done through consistent networking within your business community)
  2. Follow-Up these contacts with an acknowledgement and the reference point of contact.
  3. Offer them information they can instantly use, even if they don’t choose to do business with you; ‘how to’ guides which relate to your business and might help them.
  4. Offer them a special place to interact with you; website, twitter page, LinkedIn, email etc.
  5. Get permission to stay in touch through an opt-in link to email newsletter/ downloads etc.
  6. Stay actively in touch and offer added value such as an e-Book or white paper or a special offer/package deal.
  7. Above all track the content and results of all interactions and use this to spot the times your prospects indicate their willingness to buy and ask for their business.

Remember!  It’s not all about hard selling anymore; it’s about building relationships and trust with your prospects in a way that is both consistent and relevant.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on managing your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up an initial chat over a coffee!

Simple steps to understanding your Target Audience

How to appeal to your Target AudienceWhen it comes to growing business and increasing sales, the most successful brands don’t try too hard; they don’t constantly bleat on and on about it; they simply design their products and services around the needs of specific segments of their target audience.

Whatever you’re selling – be it food, legal services, travel, or luxury goods – one thing is for sure: no one likes to be told what to do!

Start by going back to basics and putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Understand your audience
What it is they like about your product?  Or, even more important, what it is that’s stopping them from buying it?

Research
Qualitative research (focus groups) and product trial (hall tests) is potentially valuable in understanding what makes your customers tick and together with quantitative research (questionnaires and surveys), you’ll be able to clearly define your target audience with more precision than ‘someone who might like what I sell’.

Design
Design your product or service specifically for your audience and ensure it is based on a clear need, making sure you design your communications to sell the product, not as a plea to appeal to your audience.  For example, if you’re appealing to an older audience and you’re selling car insurance, using the headline  ‘Car Insurance that rewards your driving experience’ is far more effective than saying ‘Car Insurance for the over 50’s’.  There’s nothing more off putting than being told you no longer fit the ‘norm’, even if it might be beneficial to you!

Communicate
Be open to engaging the audience through new and less used channels.  If you’re appealing to an older audience, research suggests that 37% of over 65’s will be using Facebook by 2017, and if your customer is more likely to appreciate a more tangible representation of your product or service (say you’re a photographer or graphic designer), consider producing printed literature which will showcase your specific skills.

We all tend to fall into the trap of looking at how we can sell more to our customers, rather than looking at what we can do for them – whilst subtle, a very important difference when it comes to successful targeting and generating more sales.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

I run a small business, should I be doing market research?

Why should I do Market ResearchIt doesn’t matter how big your business is, market research is an important part of your whole business strategy.

Rather than just a one-off activity, in order to remain successful, conducting research on a continual basis will allow you to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge.

Why should I do market research?

Depending on what kind of business you run and what stage you’re at in your business, market research will not only help you to identify exactly who your target customers are, but it will also enable you to understand how they tick.

For instance, if you’re a new start-up, canvassing passers-by to take part in a trial of a new product or answering specific questions about the service you are offering, will help you to decide whether it’s right for your target market before you take it to market.

If you are a more established business, market research can help you to understand why your customers choose your product/service over competitors and it will enable you to set realistic targets for specific growth areas, introduce new sales tactics and launch new products.

Similarly it will help you to make informed decisions about whether you should be consolidating, diversifying or reducing your business activities.

There might be several different reasons for conducting some form of market research; you may have identified a business problem such as a fall in sales, a competitor may have entered your marketplace or another similar product may have become available.

3 cost-effective research methods for a small business

Desk research – gathering and analyzing information, already available in print or published on the internet.  This can be very cost effective as it relies on existing market data which can provide you with key information about your market size, value and trends.
Together with your own sales data and that of your competitors, this form of research will give you valuable information that can help you to understand sales and geographic and demographic trends.

Online Surveys – a relatively low cost method, which involves respondents signing up to take part in an online survey – sometimes in return for a small reward, or entry into a prize draw.  This method is a great option for smaller businesses taking advantage of some easy online survey tools; the results of which can be used to answer some key questions about your business or to research your target market.
Information is gathered automatically and the response rate can be almost instant.  One of the main benefits of online surveys is that it saves time.  The data is instantly available and can easily be transferred onto a spreadsheet, or other business application, if a more detailed analysis is required. You can design your own survey with one of the many free online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang.

Hall Tests – designed to get consumers to ‘try out’ specific products.   Respondents are recruited on the street and guided to where the test is taking place and asked to canvass opinion in a public space (often a church hall or similar).
They are invited to try out specific products such as food & drink, magazines, cleaning products etc. so you can identify any strengths and weaknesses before launching the product.  Whilst you could achieve some really useful in-depth comments from respondents, this type of research needs to be carefully planned and executed to be successful.  Respondents are also often given incentives to do this.

So whether you’re a new start-up or you need to find out more about how your customers tick, conducting a piece of research will allow you to keep up with what’s going on in your own market and enable you to continue maintaining a competitive edge!

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

5 Ways to gain Brand Recognition

Christine Davey Marketing ManagementIt doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, whether you are a big corporate brand or a one-man band – in order to be successful your brand needs to stand out from the crowd.  Your ultimate goal is to have your target market think only of you when they are ready to buy.

Gaining brand recognition isn’t just about a fancy logo – it’s all about making sure that whenever your target market associates with a product, service or organisation they remember something distinctive about you which will jog their memory.  This could be a logo, a colour, some kind of packaging or just memorable customer service; something that triggers associations in their minds and sets you apart from your competition.
Here are 5 ways you can easily gain brand recognition

1.  Exceptional Customer Service
Develop a reason customers will trust you enough to come back time and time again and recommend you to others.  Today’s customers are much more discernible; looking for guarantees, prompt turnaround time and first-class after sales service.  In fact, customer service can often be the major factor in the final buying decision.
2. Be Personable
Create a persona to engender trust; become the go-to person/company in your field of expertise.  Your target market needs to accept you as the person behind the brand before they will buy what you are are offering.
3. Generate Awareness
Create a strategy to remind your target market that you are actively doing business; make them aware of what you offer by keeping your brand top of mind, communicating with your target market both online and offline with a consistent, objective message. Fail to do this and your target market will forget about you and go somewhere else!
4. Add Value
Exceed people’s expectations – share your expertise through a series of touchpoints; become the well-respected ‘go-to’ person in your field through blogging, white papers & webinars.
5. Be Consistent in your Branding
Be instantly recognisable to your target market by using the same imaging and logo styling in all forms of communication.  Brand consistency is the key to brand recognition and one which is strictly adhered to by top successful brands.  It seems an obvious one, but it is very often overlooked.

What other ways could you help your target market recognise and remember you and your brand?  Why not take the time to develop a marketing checklist and develop a strategy you can easily implement to ensure your brand stands out from the crowd?

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on managing your marketing, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

The importance of the Follow-Up

Follow-upAs a sole trader, I need to be able to ‘sell’ myself to both existing and potential clients together with generating leads through various forms of marketing – all of which need to be followed-up.

Going in person to networking events, engaging online and working with people on projects on a daily basis gives us loads of content and conversations; juggling multiple communications both on and offline.

With millions of images, messages and insights relentlessly bombarding us on a daily basis, it’s easy to fall through the communication cracks and to a certain extent we seem to have lost the art of follow-up, which still remains the most important activity to engage in after meeting new people, and the keystone to relationship building and retention.

Timing is Essential

Follow-up with people you have met or been introduced to as soon as you can and try to make time to respond to people who have taken the time to contact you (unless it’s an obvious spam)!

Research, research, research

Knowing something about them and what they do will give you a powerful advantage for opening a conversation; taking the time and trouble to research their company beforehand will give you a smart strategic edge.

Be engaging

Exchange knowledge which will add value and help to forge a strong mutual connection; using all the social and online tools shows you are willing to engage and gives you a series of touch points to develop that connection.

Change their perceptions

Small gestures can go a long way to change a potential customer’s perception of you.  Provide an endorsement or introduce them as an expert in their field to someone looking for their help; this doesn’t need to be reciprocal and will have a big impact of how people perceive you, demonstrating you as someone they can trust.

Don’t give up at the first hurdle

Time is such a challenge these days, it’s too easy to give up early when it doesn’t look like you’re getting anywhere with people you have a relationship with or feel a potential with.  Be persistent, but respect people’s time and know when it’s time to step away if you can’t add value straight away.

Keeping in touch is so much easier than it’s ever been – so never fail to follow-up!

3 reasons to consider outsourcing your marketing

JuneBlogWhen you’re pushed for time – seeing to clients, building relationships and managing your staff – your marketing inevitably gets pushed on the back burner, especially in times of recession when budgets are stretched.

The reality is that investing in your marketing at times like this can in fact generate a huge return on sales and when time is tight, outsourced help from a marketing professional can provide additional support from planning what to do, to making it happen; freeing up your time so you are able to concentrate on other areas of your business.

With the current climate pushing many small businesses to keep costs down and re-prioritise workloads, outsourcing can be a cost effective and efficient way to make sure your marketing is working.

1. You get the right marketing skills you need, when you need them

As a small business you often find yourself being a jack-of-all-trades, juggling different projects or delegating marketing projects to other members of your team who don’t have any marketing expertise.  Employing an experienced marketer full time to implement each aspect of your marketing plan can be costly to maintain in-house and by outsourcing specific tasks, gives you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business without the cost of employing a full time marketing professional.

Taking on the promotion for your own business can be daunting if you have little or no marketing expertise.  Sourcing an expert can help develop and implement your marketing plan and bring fresh creativity, new ideas and a completely different perspective.  They won’t be afraid to push the boundaries and show you what will work for your product.

2. It’s cost effective and time efficient

Whether you’re a one man band or a big brand, saving time and money is key to running a successful business.  By having top level marketing experts on hand whenever you need them, you’ll be avoiding the hidden costs of employing staff such as sick pay, office overheads and holidays.

For instance, if you have a marketing campaign planned to run over a specific period, you won’t be paying an in-house marketer during the times you don’t have marketing planned, thus saving both time and money.

3. You get personal, professional expert help

The right outsourced marketer will have a wealth of experience in a diverse range of markets.  They will be able to advise you on the best marketing techniques to suit your business and help to get the right messages to the right people at the right time.

By creating timelines, and delivering weekly or monthly reports on the project effectiveness you will be fully in control of your investment, so you know exactly where you are every step of the way.

Christine Davey
Davey Marketing

If you’d like to outsource any aspect of your own marketing,  Tweet me, contact me here or call me for an initial chat on 01273 772033 today.

Getting the right message to the right people – Face to Face

Davey Marketing Business NetworkingDifficult economic times often result in cutting back on certain activities in business, particularly marketing.  When we should all be knuckling down to generate as much new business as possible, our marketing activities tend to become less rather than more.

Of course, it is fundamental that our marketing activities complement the services we offer, getting the right message to the right people at the right time.  But when budgets are tight, it can be a juggling act, deciding which activity will make the best return on investment.

Many small business owners tend to largely focus their activities around online marketing such as social media and email marketing, and whilst a mix of these activities, together with more traditional methods such as creating postcards or flyers may be relevant to your business, there is one very cost effective marketing activity which is vital to raise awareness and position your brand; Face to Face Marketing or Business Networking.

Sharing your message with a group of like-minded people gets you offline, making an impression with ‘real’ people that are more likely to help to market your business for you via first and third party referrals.

Making contacts and building relationships is key in any marketing activity and whilst communicating virtually through social media platforms has a significant impact on the speed at which information can be obtained, a high percentage of prospects are more likely to be converted to new customers via face-to-face interaction.

There’s a big choice of business networking organisations out there, whether you want to be ‘locked in’ and pay an annual fee or just want somewhere to ‘drop-in’ for a chat and a coffee – here’s a few links to some of the current groups in Brighton & Sussex.

Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce 
4 Networking
Athena Networking
The Mumpreneurs Networking Club    
Sussex Enterprise
City Business Club
Friends of the Albion 
Hove Business Association 
Juice FM Breakfast Club 
Brighton Business Curry Club 
Gatwick Diamond Business 
First Friday Network
Women Unlimited  
Wired Sussex
The Un-Networking Salon
Speed Networking in Brighton

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing communications, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.