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How to Get More Clients Through Networking
By Hannah Martine, Ad Alchemy

Networking is one of the most effective techniques for small companies or sole practitioners to attract new clients.

Networking is one of the most effective techniques for small companies or sole practitioners to attract new clients. What is networking?  It's an inexpensive and personalized form of advertising.  Inexpensive, because all you have to do is talk to people.  Personalized, because you can adjust your message depending on who you are talking with.  

At networking meetings, people ask you what you do. You have a just a few seconds to tell someone why it's in their best interest to do business with you.  Writing and practicing a clear and memorable Magical Blurb (also called Elevator Pitch) will assure that you utilize those few precious seconds effectively.

Let's begin by answering these three questions.  The order in which you answer them is not important.
  • What is your expertise?
  • Who are the clients you work with?
  • What do they get out of working with you?
As an example, let's take a marketing consultant who specializes in working with small companies.  Right now, when asked what he goes, he says "I'm a marketing consultant."  

Boring, isn't it.  

When he answers the three questions above, we end up with something like this:
  • What is your expertise:  I create effective advertising and marketing strategies
  • Who are the clients you work with:  small companies
  • What do they get out of working with you:  they get more sales
Next we re-write his answers into a sentence that's between 10 and 20 words long. 
"I create effective advertising and marketing strategies for small companies that result in more sales and higher profits."
The above process is the foundation for an effective Magical Blurb.  We can expand it, adjust it, or personalize it to fit any networking situation.  Here are some examples:
  • The helping perspective:  "I help small companies increase their sales by creating effective advertising and marketing strategies."

  • Problem-solving perspective:  "I work with companies to help them remain profitable by creating effective advertising and marketing strategies."

  • A version your grandmother would understand: "I help people figure out what they should say in their commercials."

  • If networking with colleagues:  "I create advertising and marketing strategies that give my clients a high response rate and a quick ROI."
If you attend networking events where everyone stands up and introduces themselves to a group, please add a request.  Adding a request to your Magical Blurb will greatly improve your chances of receiving referrals.  For our marketing consultant, this may sound something like:
"I create effective advertising and marketing strategies for small companies that result in more sales and higher profits, and I am currently looking for three companies who want a great yellow-page ad written."
The effectiveness of your Magical Blurb increases tremendously if you offer a free informational product at the end. For example:
"If you would like to see an example of the kinds of strategies I use, please write 'White Paper' on the back of your business card before you give it to me and I'll email you my report 'Ads that Pull' as soon as I get back to my office."
When networkers request your free informational product, they give you permission to contact them.  Follow up promptly!

Hannah Martine is the founding principal of Ad Alchemy ( www.ad-alchemy.com ) in Portland, Oregon. She helps small companies get more clients through teaching networking skills, presenting workshops, and creating effective marketing, advertising and PR strategies. She can be reached at 503.641.6976.

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