More than ever, we’ve been given an unprecedented networking opportunity that relies on only one factor, taking your time to contact people within your circles.
Not having a personal Facebook account in 2014 is unheard of by most social standards, likewise for LinkedIn, and Twitter.
In an era where every company is vying for you to use their marketing techniques via SEO, Paid Ads, the idea of getting “free” business through your expanded network is passing people by.
Techniques of cold calling or sifting through Google to find businesses or clients that fit your model are often met with a lack of response or no response at all, and you waste valuable time reaching out to people who care little for your pitch – since they hear it from hundreds of other sellers.
So how do you tackle this?
It’s easy; the approach you must take is through your existing friend circles. Sift through your friends lists, see who works where, look at their interests, history (if possible), and find a common ground. When searching for advantages, knowing as much about your target customer is a must when molding your product or service toward them, and there is no better place to look for free metrics on individuals than on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Moreover, the accessibility of knowing your friends list gives you a leg up on cold callers trying to contact them at random.
While you do run the risk of seeming like a ‘sales guy’, you should never be afraid of a sales approach toward your friends. Greet and speak as you normally would, and tell them you’re looking for help to get more business or promote your product through word of mouth.
It’s widely thought that word of mouth is the most powerful type of referral, people place trust in their friends, and will take their advice toward a particular product or service than from a stranger or advertisement, and thus, an opportunity for you to pitch yourself in this circle is created.
Even if the person is not a direct target of your product or service, they may in fact have a wide network of friends within their circle of whom they know would be great candidates for what you offer, but you wouldn’t be aware of this unless you actually went forward and contacted your friends list at random.
That being said, if the friend or acquaintance you’re contacting is not a targeted prospect that you can pitch to, how do you go about convincing them to reach out to their network?
One way to go about it is by offering incentives.
1. If they own a business, offer to push through their business to your network.
2. Provide referral fees ranging between 10% – 20% and arm them with the necessary information to send out to their contacts.
3. If you’re selling a product, give your friends free samples or a supply of your products to try for free, and they can pass your products onto their friends for free as well.
The reason I know these out-reach marketing techniques within your networks work is because I’ve applied them myself, and they’ve constituted for 90% of my clients today. Referrals/word of mouth clients are the easiest to pitch to, they trust in their friends, and by nature, that helps them trust in you because you’re mutual friends within their extended circle.
More often than not, the people will either not care for your pitch, but when they confide in you and see your business, your friends are happy to help bring you more business.
Best of all, it costs you nothing except taking some time every day to put the effort in.