How to use networking to generate leads

Generating “hot” leads is becoming more and more difficult with all the networking channels available. Leads are essential for any successful firm and business. It will determine the extent of the market you serve, the income you will earn and the success of the entire business. How can you generate useful leads through networking?

Before you start with your networking process, take some time to map out a strategy for your networking. Following a strategy will save you time and effort in reaching new leads. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the most likely buyer of your service?
  • Where can your target market be reached?
  • How can you entice your audience to want more information?

Once you have a strategy in place, use the following 5 tips to maximise your lead generation through networking events: 

Research your audience
Networking events often make available a list of the firms who will be attending the function. Take the time to find out which firms will be there, and then do some research to find out which of those are a good fit for your service. Rank the firms you identify on a shortlist that you would most like to talk to, and refresh your memory before you arrive at the networking event with some facts and anecdotes about why you are interested in them. 

Make a lasting impression
You have a limited amount of time to get the other person’s attention. Use the time wisely to show your interest in them. If the opportunity presents itself mention that you have an exciting solution for their problem. Refine your “pitch” and make it customised for those top firms on your shortlist that you most want to meet at the event. 

Build a relationship
Place your focus on building relationships, and not on making a sale. When you are at a networking event it is important to remember that you are not there to close sales, you are there to introduce yourself and your firm. This will lay the groundwork to build relationships with people who might become clients, or who might offer to refer you to potential clients. 

Talk less, listen more
Lead generation is often a matter of listening to what the other person is saying, and interpreting what the core needs are. You need to invest time in truly listening to what the other people are saying. Ask questions in such a way to find out more about their needs and preferences. 

Identify the quality leads
One of the biggest challenges is to filter and sort through a large volume of leads. You have to realise that not all leads are equally promising. Develop a method to sort through the potential leads quickly. Work your way through the room and do not spend too much time on a conversation that is leading nowhere. As the right questions to identify whether or not the person you are talking to is going to be worth following up with after the networking event.

Use your networking-time wisely to generate the best possible leads. Place your focus on building relationships and not closing the deal immediately. Keep listening and ask proper questions to dig deeper into your prospect’s business needs. This will assist you in finding quality leads to grow your own business.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at francois@succeedgroup.co.za

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.