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Running a successful business used to be dependent on what you knew. Then, who you knew became important. In today's economy, it is far more critical to what you extent you know someone. So it's not what you know or who you know, but how well you know them that really determines the amount of business that can be generated by a contact.

Networking is the process of meeting people (also known as contacts), either through a contact that you initiate or through an introduction by a third party. Networking allows you to meet, and establish a relationship with, people who may not have heard of your business through any other means.

Like the name implies, this is work! It's not called Net-sit, Net-talk, or Net-eat. It's Net-work!! In order to make it productive for you, you need to learn proper way to do it. There are some important steps to follow for successful networking:

Pick Your Functions To Attend

Business people like to associate with other business people, so attend functions where these types of people will be. Pick those functions carefully. Make sure that the purpose of the function is to promote business and not just to socialize.

Chambers of Commerce gatherings, trade shows, and networking organizations are excellent sources of business leads. The people who attend these are there for the same reason you are- to meet new people and to develop new business relationships. Social functions are fun and relaxing, but a person trying to do business or make contacts there could be very disappointed.

Be Prepared

Dress appropriately- you are a representation of the type of work that you do. First impression advertising can make you the most money or be the most expensive advertising you will ever invest in if it causes you to lose business.

Always have a supply of business cards on you at all times. I know a man who met a prospective client from a large company while swimming in a pool in a hotel in Hawaii, while on vacation. He landed an account with the firm when he produced a business card (laminated of course), from his swimming trunks.

Make a Good Presentation

Remember that you know more about your business than your prospective client needs to on a first meeting. Save the details of your product or service for a second meeting unless specifically asked about them by the prospect. If you overwhelm them with information, you may never have chance to determine how you can help them with a problem they may have. The key to successful businesses is in solving problems for clients in a fair, efficient and cost effective way.

Mining for Referrals

All-important referrals come from happy clients. A referral from a client is a reflection of their judgment as well as a compliment to you and your product or service. Be sure to send out "Thank You" cards to people who refer you business. Thank them for the opportunity to service their acquaintance and to perhaps help them in the future, as well.

Networking is done at any time of day- morning , noon and night.One of the nicest benefits is the friendships you can make while pursuing common goals.

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Nancy is the Executive Director of Profnet, Inc. Profnet, Inc. is a professional business leads generation corporation. We bring business professionals together in a non-competitive environment to help each other make more money.
Mailto:execdirector@profnet.org
http://www.profnet.org
Copyright c 1998 Nancy Roebke
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An important aspect of marketing online is the opportunity to achieve targeted, measurable results. However, marketers are told repeatedly by the Internet establishment that traffic is the solution to online success.

Based on the law of averages, this premise is not too far off the mark; the more people hit your site, the more responses you will receive. Quantity is therefore an important aspect of surviving online. If you want lots of hits, you want your site in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

But what about quality? What if these hits are uninterested visitors who will never buy from you? For those seeking a more cost-efficient means of selling more successfully online, attracting a higher quality stream of visitors -- interested, pre-qualified visitors ready to buy - is definitely a better alternative.

The challenge facing many is that they feel they must make a choice: Quantity versus quality. But this is not a choice to be made. Both can be achieved simultaneously by having a better target at which to aim and a better weapon with which to shoot.

It's called "focused marketing," which combines both niche and target marketing. Either will improve results, but by applying both results can multiply exponentially.

Niche Marketing

In the competitive 2,000's, the demand for specialized products and services will increase. If your site sells everything but the kitchen sink, chances are your audience will not perceive a value in buying from you any greater than from anyone else.

Remember price is never an issue - it is the value behind the price that is. And if your value is perceived as equal to that of others, the cheapest alternative wins.

The number of sales will increase dramatically if your site is narrowly centered on a specific theme or outcome. And the need to produce large quantities of visitors will lessen considerably.

Let's say your best client is the corporate executive and that your site receives 200,000 hits per month. If your site's message aims for the public at large, there will only be a small percentage of this ideal market hitting your site.

Let's say that percentage is 0.1%. This means that of 200,000 visitors, only 200 will be executives. And since your site is too general, an even smaller percentage of those 200 executives - say, 0.5% - will be interested in your offer and eventually buy (0.5% amounts to only one client for an entire month).

Now consider another site dedicated exclusively to corporate executives. Assume this site receives only 5,000 hits per month - agreeably, it's not a whole lot. But the percentage of those visitors falling into the target market will be 100%.

Furthermore, the percentage of interested leads will be greater. To be conservative, let's say it is only 5%. This means of 5,000 hits per month, one can achieve 250 sales.

The beauty of it is that it probably took a lesser investment of time, effort, and money to achieve 250 sales per month than it did to achieve one sale per month. Therefore, you definitely get more with less. By narrowing your market or focus, you broaden your chances of online success.

In short, the more specialized your web site or online business becomes, the more qualified, interested leads will come to you and the more sales you will generate.

Target Marketing

If you say your ideal client is a technical programmer, aged between 25 and 35, and earning over $25,000 per year. Your chances of reaching such an audience by plastering your link all over the Internet will be minuscule. And even if your message does happen to appear in front of your specific market, chances are it will go unnoticed due to the general nature of the location in which your message appears. Not good.

Your message should appear in front of people likely to read it and take action. If you promote your online business in places in which your target market is likely to congregate, it is true your costs will likely be higher. However, your cost-per-visitor (or cost-per-lead, even cost-per-sale) will decrease substantially.

Combining targeted and niche marketing can produce substantial improvements over non-focused marketing. By lessening your market as well as the market to which you advertise, you will proportionately increase your sales.

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