What is the best way to get a meeting with another business owner?
I am new business owner in a small community and I am just looking to network and attract new clientele. I have tried emailing, phoning, and setting up in-person meetings with other business owners but nothing ends up following through. I understand it is summer and people are busy, but how can I get other business owners to sit down with me for just a few minutes to see how we can help each other?
Offer something of value. If you feel that these businesses can benefit from you, then give them a reason to believe it. I don't know your business, but in my case I offer a free marketing evaluation to potential clients and I also offer a free tool so business owners can check their online business listings. I give them value, once they see that, they are much more likely to want to talk to me.
I also echo the importance of chambers and other networking in a local market.
Have you tried any networking groups? If you Google business networking groups for your area, you may find some groups of local entrepreneurs/business owners in your area who have weekly meetings. You can also check out your local chamber of commerce. I'd also go sign up at meetup.com and search for groups in your area. Good luck!
There are 3 points: business itself, hobby, children. For example:
- you are software vendor, your potential visavi is software reseller;
- you are marina official, your visavi is a yachtsman;
- you are football uniform producer, your visavi son plays for university team.
There is no one best way - it all depends upon the business owner. Some like to 'network' at business gatherings - while others find this a waste of time. (But this doesn't mean you shouldn't attend the networking events in your area.) Some respond to a well-written introductory email, while others attention can be gained with a traditional letter. The correct answer is that any and all marketing channels that are available to you should be explored...
Find out how you can help with their problems, and call/email to offer your help.
The answer is very simple. Find out from then when is the best time that they can have coffee with you. Then invite them to coffee on their time and YOU pay. Sit down with them and "gel!" You keep quiet and let them do the talking. It's amazing what you can learn about them and how you can help them. Please note that this takes time because people need to get and feel comfortable with you. That is the reason why you have to meet on their time. In short, "you pay to play!"
I think this depends on your part of the country...both Chambers and Rotary are pretty uninspiring in the PNW. Meetups are growing really fast and there are many of them designed to do what BNI is about but in a much friendlier and more helpful way...they are more like "commonality communities" with people of like interests. Might check these out to see if they are active in your area.
Is there a Service Corps of Retired Executive (S.C.O.R.E.) Chapter in the area? If so, you could reach out to them for assistance and they will advise you at little or no cost. Do you attend Kiwanis or Rotary Club meetings to get to know some of those business owners? At the least, you could host your own networking event as a way of trying to get their interest.
Mr Grant, the best is to go to their office. Then seek an appointment. In business this happens to us all the time. But we need to pursue, in our own interest .When the meeting does not happen, write a mailer to the person about your visit. But, if it goes too far, and they are not accessible then they are not worth being your customer at all. Mutual respect is also required. One more observation is that you have stated that you are 'new', in a 'small community'. Please don't think this way. You are a Business Owner and no one can take this away. So change your mindset that you are just like the other business owners in terms of your expertise and move forward. However, let not the 'good' n you change. Florence MacDonald
Loads of useful information already, but I would like to share a method that has worked for me. It's along the same line as those that have talked about building relationships.
The toughest part of this process for me was identifying my target market and then finding them online (i.e. social media groups, forums and sites like MeetUp). Once I did, I joined them too. I listened to what they talked about, especially to the things they were asking each other for advice on, were having problems or were pain points in running their businesses. I started replying with suggestions and tips. Sometimes I had no clue, but a few minutes of research and I was able to fulfill a need ... provide value. I offered ways for them to address their issues themselves. I much less time than I thought it would take, they started asking ME not the group for information. From there is a pretty easy transition into letting them know what my business could do for them and their businesses. More than 50% scheduled consultations, and almost 80% of those that did became clients.
I understand that getting clients - FAST - is critical to a lot of business owners. This won't get you a consultation tomorrow or even within a few days, but it will get you the meetings you're looking for if you put in the time.
If you're still with me, one more thing you might try. Are you using video in your messaging campaign? Record a series of 2-3 minute videos that talk about your service or product and include it along with an invite for a consultation. Give potential clients a reason to want to talk to you. 9-10 people will watch a short video more willingly than they will use the scroll bar to read an message that goes "below the fold".