Tags: Sales Prospecting
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO NETWORKING
I’m sure we have all heard the term, “Like-minded people”, or “like-minded groups.” I’m even sure we have all received emails, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages, and Instagram messages, to name a few, which included lines like, “I’m looking to expand my network with like-minded people.”
--- Does that sound familiar?
Hell, I’m sure a few of us even used that strategy in the past, somewhere around the time we were launching our business, MLM or direct sales organization.
I don’t blame you. You had an empty sales pipeline, no prospects, and were hitting up family for your first couple deals, just to chalk something up in the books.
--- Does that sound familiar?
IS IT GENUINE?
While this is harmless from the surface level, in my personal experience, it is always (without fail) followed up with a messenger inbox sales pitch. Now, as someone who knows their way around a sales conversation, inside and out, these are poorly constructed, and likely "copy + paste" style pitches.
The process, or strategy seems to be uniform across various MLM companies, network marketing companies and direct selling organizations. The initial message appears to be genuine, the first message where they ask you what you do, and why you decided to pursue that path for your professional career.
However, the second and third messages always seem to follow the same exact path, not word for word, but relatively close. The two I typically get are:
1. Are you keeping an eye out for additional income opportunities?
Well, that’s a no-brainer, anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit is always looking to add revenues streams to their income drip. What does this additional income opportunity entail? Well, in order to find out, you must watch their 20 minute video, as they can’t always tell you exactly what the opportunity would entail. To take this a step further, you’ll hear things like, “Well, the video can explain it much better than I can via messenger.” That’s a clear indication that I’m viewing an MLM video.
2. If I could show you how to make an additional $500/mo would you want to see that?
Well, who wouldn’t but this one isn’t as strong as the first one, as you can’t exactly calculate the cost to bring in an additional $500/mo. Sure, it might cost you $99/mo in membership fees, plus ad spend, plus 2 hours per night. 30 x 2 = 60 hours per month. $500 / 60 hours = $8.33 per hour. I know high schoolers making more than that at McDonalds.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you can earn a great deal of money in MLM, Network Marketing and Direct Selling organizations, with the proper training, coaching and mentoring.
Needless to say, most organizations don’t have a very strong training, coaching or mentoring program. This isn’t an MLM Bashing article, this is an article to help you network with more effectiveness.
ORIGIN OF STRATEGY
I’m curious where this strategy originated. This leads me to believe there are training courses, coaches, or mastermind groups on using these methods. In fact, I know of someone who was in an MLM who did exactly this. X-amount of new people each night were spammed with unwanted messages and friend requests from this person, only to message them something about like-minded and business-minded people to network with. Message 2 and 3 were sales pitches, asking if they would be interested in learning how to make an extra $500/mo.
Needless to say, this person lost massive amounts of money on ordering personal value in product, purchasing samples, and ad spend on social media. The loss was to the tune of 15x the earnings produced from this “opportunity.”
MY EXPERIENCE WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
Now, I have met like-minded people, some of us have partnered on various projects. I have retained some of them to teach me their craft, some have retained me to teach them my craft. Almost all of them bought my book, "Potent Prospecting", among other projects I have worked on.
I'll share with you the process I underwent to generate a list of like-minded and business-minded people.
5 STEPS TO NETWORK MORE EFFECTIVELY
1️⃣ Lead with Value -- All of the people I have put into my small circle of like-minded and business-minded individuals, I offered them an absolutely free sales strategy discussion. I'm talking about constructing their scripts, email sequence, value proposition, and ideal client profile. In some cases, I would draft a quick 1-2 page Google Doc and share it with my newly acquired connection so they can take it, implement it and return with some feedback for tweaking or modifications.
2️⃣ Offer to help
Check in on people and offer to help. One of the best strategies I have came across to-date is from Marcelo Bayon from Sparkki, where he asked, "What is the biggest project you're working on and how can I help?" If you're not generating tons of conversations with this question, you're targeting the wrong audience. This particular question leaves some room for interpretation, but it is a great way to begin a conversation with your like-minded audience and open opportunities for collaboration and connections.
3️⃣ Identify Challenges
In every business, life or leisure, there are two forms of needs; Latent and Active. Active is something that needs attention now, and Latent is something you're not wholly aware of, but can pose problems in the future. Most business owners are far too busy to assess their current challenges. I know, from a personal level, I am able to identify some smaller challenges hindering my growth, simply by speaking with my like-minded individuals. We can talk about SEO, Advertising, social media, networking, selling, follow-up, or sales automation and lead generation. They bring up valid points I should be integrating. Whether they’re latent or active - they are still needs.
4️⃣ Quantify Challenges
If you can help others quantify their challenges, you're in a much better position than someone who sends you an unsolicited message trying to pitch you. Let's say BizOwner A spends 11 hours a month doing reports, entries, and paperwork. BizOwner A also states there isn't enough time to manage the team and train in new hires. Quantifying the cost of outsourcing reports, entries and paperwork compared to having a competent team of highly trained employees.
Let's say new hires can produce a forecasted $40,000 of new revenue each month when trained in, whereas outsourcing reports, entries, and paperwork can run a total of $1000/mo.
$40,000 > $1,000
5️⃣ Make Connections
Offer to connect people with others all around the world. "Oh you're a writer, I have a client that needs some high level copy", or "I have a friend that runs a call center, let me connect you two." These types of conversations and connections bring you back full circle to leading with value. You're feeding them opportunities, which cost you $0 and expand your network of like-minded and business-minded people, while building trust and engaging in positive relationships.
I have created multiple group chats in Facebook to connect people in my network offering similar products and services my new like-minded individuals are seeking. Whether they’re seeking a SaaS, software, platform, training program, course, book, etc., I always make sure to give them at least two people in my immediate network they can chat with to gain clarity.
Networking online isn't overly complicated. The real trick - just be human. That's right. Just be a human, lead with value, ask questions, and offer to help by either sharing your expertise or making connections. We have all been in a position with an empty sales pipeline, no opportunities, and no prospects on the docket. If we only had a few "like-minded" people to lean on for a little boost, that would help is in the long-run.
Spamming inboxes isn't the best approach, and if you jump into various entrepreneurial groups, you'll also see that well-established entrepreneurs do not like getting spammed non-stop with "opportunities." Just share something of value based on their conversational topics, questions, and answers.