All day every day I am with small business owners. Either I’m meeting them in networking events, speaking at their association meetings or sitting next to them at luncheons. After speaking with them for a couple of minutes, it becomes evident that they should NOT be there to get clients. Here are some signs so that you too can assess if you’re networking in the wrong places:
Nobody Can Use Your Services
I’ve just come from watching a speaker talk about corporate team communication to a network made up exclusively of solopreneurs. The presenter kicked butt and she had an awesome presentation but I couldn’t figure out what she was doing there.
If after speaking to person after person at an event, you find that your services or products don’t help their pain, you might be at the wrong place to have potential clients fall in love with you. Alternately if every person at an event or a network that you speak to starts to share their biggest issues and it’s exactly what you help them with for a living, you have hit the bullseye for your ideal target client.
You’ve NEVER Gotten Clients From That Group
I keep telling the story of a networking group I went to where everyone I spoke to said they had been coming for years but had not once gotten a client from there. I think it’s a crazy story but it’s true. Are you there to socialize or network to get clients. If months or years of not getting a client isn’t giving you the hint that you’re fishing in the wrong pond, I don’t know what will.
None of Your Competitors Are There
This one’s a huge flag for me. Either you’re so specialized that nobody else has thought to show up at that venue and you’re scoring big time clients or you’ve really missed the mark and you are in the wrong place to find potential clients for what you do. For example, a training company who specialized in the Army scored their biggest win at the Army trade show where all other vendors were guns and tanks but they knew that they would make their year from that show, even if there were 0 other trainers there. Conversely if they couldn’t get any clients from this tactic, it would be a sure sign that they were looking for clients in the wrong place.
Next time you’re deciding to look for clients, do yourself a favour and consider these signs so that you can save on time, money and resources for your small business. After all, there’s only so much polite small talk you can make without bursting a vein in frustration.