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?
One must reverse engineer. . . the desired relationship.
Some thoughts on the simple facts. . . .
First of all. . . Never underestimate the power of paying it forward !!
Every sale has five basic obstacles:
no need, no money,
no hurry, no desire,
~ Zig Ziglar
Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
~M. Scott Peck
Price is only an issue in the absence of value.
Substitute the words. . .Sale for the word Relationship, and Price for the word Time. . . .
Then . . . . plan a line of approaching the relationship with a renewed eye.
I run a small, expert Digital agency here in Birmingham UK called Odyssey New Media (odysseynewmedia.com).
I have 2 words for you - Business Networking !
My best advice to you is to consider starting a business networking group but one that you actually organise.
> Venue - Source a venue that is cheap, light and friendly - golf courses work well.
> Set a time - Breakfast 7-9am works well as its outside of working hours and kick-starts people's day.
> Food price - agree a price for breakfast/lunch with the venue, let them do the catering too.
> Annual registration fee - Get people to pay a monthly registration fee (or annual fee up-front to insure their attendance). Don't make it too expensive > > Parking - Ensure there is Free Parking at the venue or surrounding nearby roads.
> Frequency - The frequency should be every 2 or 4 weeks, personally I prefer every two weeks.
> Encourage one-to-one meetings
> Encourage business referrals but not too aggresively as you don't want to pressure people.
This way if you organise it, you will be able to invite businesses for free as guests and this gives you the lead on who to invite and more people will want to network with you as you'll be the organiser.
I've been netowrking with a networking group here in the UK, and I'm currently organising my own closer to home through their brand. Networking works and it gets you in front of business owners which is exactly what you want. Outside of networking events it's good to have followup one-to-one meetings so you can talk in more detail and see how you can help each other out.
I hope that advice helps. If you need digital marketing or web development don't hesitate to give me a shout on rstoubos(at)odysseynewmedia(dot)com.
Owner/Director of Odyssey New Media
Not everyone wants to meet especially in person. What is the purpose of the meeting and whom are you trying to meet? Are you trying to meet competitors? Are you trying to meet people in a certain geographic location? People have busy lives especially business owners. There is not a lot of time in the day. Why do you need to meet in person?
Try to identify the purpose of your meeting. Once the purpose of the meeting is determined try writing a letter explaining the benefit to take time from their day to meet you and what goals may be achieved. You will get a small percentage at most. How many people have you contacted? Put yourself in their shoes. Why would you meet with them if they asked you. More information and clarification is necessary to assist you.
If you are pitching a product or trying to sell, you won't get it done.
But the real answer is "it depends". You have to solve a problem that the business owner has and provide a result that he or she wants to see.
Networking and referrals are the two fastest ways. But don't sell. Make it a "get to know you" conversation.
For me, as a marketing strategist and strategic business advisor, I use free 30 minute strategy sessions where I talk with the business owner about their top 2 or 3 problems and offer a solution and a plan to solve them. No selling involved.
In my experience, joining a professional association - like a Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club - is a great way to network with other small business owners. Networking this way takes the pressure off of cold-calling or unexpected visits to their businesses. It also shows your commitment to your community and that goes a long way.