Networking Nuggets from Client Connections
Helping You Connect With Confidence                            April 2010
Kath the Connector
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In Minnesota, winter-crazed people are ecstatic to see April roll around.  We can already see hyacinths and crocuses, and we're even happy to see weeds.  Any sign of life and new growth is a good sign.
What are you doing to nurture the growth of your business?  Apply the following tips for a shot of networking Miracle-Gro.
April's Top Tips
 purple triskele 
1. Don't waste time trying to set yourself apart from the competition by citing attributes (or features, or benefits...) that others in your field can also claim. For example, you being licensed to sell insurance in my state is a necessary condition of my even considering purchasing insurance from you. Is that a sufficient reason for me to do business with you? No way.  To grow your business through networking, you need to drill down past the obvious and get to your real statement of value - which is usually going to involve how you relieve pain for your clients. 
2.  One way to make contacts and position yourself as a subject-matter expert is to provide live or online seminars.  If you haven't checked out Constant Contact's event-marketing tool, do it now.  It's an easy and cost-effective way to promote said events.
3.  It's certainly gratifiying to make a slew of great connections at a networking event, but it's not profitable unless you follow up on those connections.  Rather than allow yourself to get overwhelmed by follow-up tasks, categorize and assign priorities to them.  For example, my most important follow-up tasks have to do with revenue-generating opportunities (go figure) and making good on my business commitments.  You could categorize your follow-up based on your profit centers, where and how you made a particular connection, or other criteria.
How's This for Success? 
Client Connections logo
Okay, I've waited almost a year to share this one.  I'm fortunate that, when I'm out networking, I can essentially model one of the services I offer clients - showcasing their services with compelling one-minute "elevator speeches".  At one event, my own business showcase started out with the following comment:  "If you'd rather poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick than go to a networking event, I can save your eyesight and help you make valuable business connections."  After we'd gone around the room and everyone had introduced themselves, I had people waiting in line to learn more about what I do.  I sold three books and signed one consulting client.  I love networking.
Really Good Resources
 light bulb
 1. If you're less comfortable than you'd like to be venturing into networking events, consider joining a local chapter of Toastmasters.  This organization has helped literally tens of thousands of people become more comfortable thinking on their feet and conversing in a wide variety of situations, both business and personal.
2.  Powerful networking is only the first step in a profitable sales relationship.  For those savvy women out there, check out Sales SheBang for great sales tips.
3.  Remember your local Chamber of Commerce as a source of education and connections.  While joining the Chamber and becoming active on committees is a powerful way to connect with other members, it's also an option to attend a few events as a guest to determine whether the organization is a good fit for you.  Click here to track down your local Chamber.
Client Connections in Action
I'm speaking around the Twin Cities for people who are eager to become more powerful networkers.  I'd be delighted to have you join me at one of the folowing events or to join you at your organization. 
The first session of The Fortune is in the Follow-Up garnered rave reviews, and we're looking at dates for an encore presentation.  My co-presenter, Rebecca Metz of Modern Inconveniences, and I will let you know when we have the dates finalized.  By the way, any votes on which day of the week would work best for you?
To give people tools for getting the most out of their networking, I'll speak on Giving Voice to Your Value for the Challengers Networking Group on May 13th.
Since that topic is so crucial, I'll also be presenting it to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Marketing Association at their Speed Networking event at Stella's Fish Cafe in Minneapolis on May 20th at 6 p.m.
Thanks to my friend Flickr.
Here are this month's heroes who graciously allowed me to use their images, posted in the Creative Commons area of Flickr, in this issue of Networking Nuggets:
purple triskele by shiftercat
light bulb by aloshbennett
Whatever your goals for growing your business this year, I hope these Nuggets will provide plenty of nourishing support for them.
Wishing you a year of dazzling success,

Client Connections
Life is good.