Are you developing a new product or are you just starting out in business – and not sure what your audience wants or is looking for? Maybe you are wanting to take your business online or wanting to build a list. Either way, understanding what your audience wants and needs is vital if you are going to create an irresistible offer for them! One great way to learn is to go offline and meet people at networking events and ask them!
You may be asking – “I don’t have a list so how can I meet people I don’t even know?”
Simple and easy – go to pre-existing networking events or places where people in your audience are already congregating!
“Eeeewwww, I hate networking events!” I hear you say!
I hear you! After years of working corporately, I know it can be nerve-wracking to go to networking events! Believe me, I have had my share of nerves – but that had to change when I realised meeting people and building relationships would be the lifeblood of my business.
So – if you want a successful business – now is the time to start the hustle! The people you meet at networking events will help you understand your customers and may even become your future customers!
How to get over the nerves of networking
So before we even think about talking to our prospective customers at our networking event – how do we get over the nerves of going to an event? I have two golden rules – or nerve-blasting rules – in this space:
Networking Nerve Blaster Rule #1: Remember people LOVE to talk about themselves. So there is no better way to learn more about your audience than by going to a networking event and engaging with people there.
Networking Nerve Blaster Rule #2: Go to the networking event with the aim of making a couple of new friends rather than writing new business. Keep your own elevator pitch short and sweet and focus entirely on the other person, their interests and their needs. This loops you back to rule #1 – People love to talk about themselves.
So now we have got the nerves out of the way – let’s focus on finding out more about your audience!
How to learn more about your audience at a networking event
The process I’m about to share with you is different from a typical networking event where your business is defined and you are in the business of expanding your contacts in order to make an offer. You would use the following process if you are a new business or you are developing a new product for your audience.
The first thing to remember is that depending on the size and nature of the event you may have 15 minutes or as little as a few minutes with each person.
Always in a networking situation stay focused on quality over quantity. People immediately pick up if you are in the process of collecting business cards or scanning the room to talk to someone more interesting/important/useful than them. It’s happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you – and it feels icky!
So how to gather information? It will depend on the time you have. Use our Seven Step Irresistible Networking Primer so you can bring home the goods at your next networking event.
Seven Step Irresistible Networking Primer
Step One – Introduce yourself
Walk up to a new person, introduce yourself and explain you’re working on a new business and you are keen to understand what people are thinking, feeling and looking for in your particular niche.
Step Two – Ask for permission
Ask the other person’s permission to speak to them about this. Remember most people LOVE to be asked their opinion. If they have another agenda for the networking event there is a small chance they may say no, or become closed down. If you pick up on this, respect their process and move onto the next person. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you find someone open to talking to you.
Step Three – Ask the ‘irresistible audience reveal’ questions
Time is generally really tight at networking events so ask what I call the ‘irresistible audience reveal’ questions:
1. What challenges you about X niche/ or are you facing in your business? (This is to surface their pain points)
2. If you could snap your fingers right now to get the perfect solution to address those challenges – what would it be? (You are looking to understand what solutions they are aware of or are looking for)
3. How do you keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry? (you are looking for what social platforms, online/offline media outlets they consume).
Step Four – Respect their time and their objectives
The key to networking is respect for the other person and their time (at the event and after) and focus on creating a friendship. If it appears you’ll only have a couple of minutes with the person, but they would be a good quality source of information, ask to have a cup of coffee or a phone catch up with them to explore your questions with them.
Step Five – Thank them and ask for their contact details
Thank them for their time. People love to be heard and they love to be acknowledged. Ask for their contact details – so that you can keep in touch with them.
Step Six – Follow up
Note down what you learned from the person and send an email thanking them for their time and that it was great to meet them. In the email refer back to what you learned about what is going on in their lives and ask if you can add them to your list so they can receive updates on what you are doing.
Step Seven – Maintain contact
You can maintain contact with the people you meet at these events by sending a quick email every one or two months. In the email ask how they are going rather than making a big sell of what you are doing.
Not sure where to go for a networking event in your local area?
If you are not sure where to go for a networking event, here is a list of potential networking opportunities. Look for regular meet-ups or conferences, workshops or seminars in your category at places like:
- www.meetup.com – this online site is an incredibly rich source of networking events of all sorts and sizes in your market
- eventbrite.com – while Eventbrite is known for selling tickets, you can also search it to find out what events are happening in your local community
- your local Chamber of Commerce
- www.bni.com – your local BNI or Business Networking International chapter
- or search online for other networking groups in your local area.
Best of luck with your audience research! I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to learn more about your audience at networking events. Please share your or comments below.
Maybe you have a friend or colleague who might find these tips useful? If so please feel free to share the love!
If you feel you would like any coaching or support for building a business that lights you up from the inside and makes your heart sing please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to help you.
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Til next time