What is the oldest form of marketing? Whether in a business environment where you get asked about your business or have the opportunity to present at a seminar, attending an exhibition, meeting friends or new people in a restaurant you need to let people know what you do. Networkers can achieve success by combining the oldest and the newest and complementing face to face with online activities.
“As the oldest form of marketing, networking still plays a major role in marketing your brand, product or service.” So say the authors of Fusion, a book about The new way of Marketing, who advocate having a VKUM – vision, key messages, USP’s and mission statement. I agree with them. This post is about why what you stand for is important, how do you define your vision in messages and how can USP’s and mission statements really help people remember you?
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What’s your VKUM?
I call this ‘your story’. Whatever you call it others want to know what it is. Talk about it with impact, panache and resonance to whomever asks “what do you do” and you will find it easy to meet your dream clients. Even if the person who asks met you at a random dinner party.
If you want them to think “I need that” you only have a tiny window or the opportunity may be lost forever. You have as little as 5 seconds when dealing with busy people. Especially if they’re not at an “organised” networking event. They don’t want to listen to a “pitch” full of features. They want to hear something that interests them.
How do you define your vision in key messages?
Your vision will be what you are eventually known for. Whether you’re passionate about children and delivering training to Mum’s or passionate about art and advising people on collections, you will have a good idea of what you want to be known for. Once you have worked that out you can start to develop key messages.
When networking you have a fantastic opportunity to tell your story and gauge the impact. People cannot always hide the fact they don’t get what you do. Networking helps you determine who doesn’t want what you have. The human element (most of us want to help each other) means networkers point you in the right direction. They can tell you who wants what you have or that they just don’t get it. That’s why networking still works today, it’s like minded people helping each other.
Why are people interested in USP’s and mission statements?
Busy people you meet are interested in what you have to offer them, then they are interested in you. Your USP’s are what you offer that other people don’t. Or what you offer that the person you are speaking to doesn’t already have. If you owned a poodle parlour, you might offer a reminder service much like a dentist. Simple, yet effective in these busy times.
The mission statement could be something like ‘ensuring no poodle has a curl out of place’. Combining these two elements when meeting dog lovers who ask what you do will certainly get their attention. You may think that only poodle owners are interested in this. Perhaps, yet if my best mate had a poodle that they loved I would not hesitate in making the connection. Saying you run a poodle parlour will mean I compare you to other poodle parlours I know about. Being the cheapest may not last forever.
Wrap up: Having a story can turn informal social meetings into business contacts. Initial interest can be developed with key messages and USP’s when appropriate. Combining offline and online networking ensures contacts remember you for what only you can do. Your vision and your mission.
Top Tip; The book has a to-do list for each form of new marketing mentioned on the home page for Fusion. Pick one that you are at least partly comfortable with and check if you are doing as much as you can to maximise the ROI. Find someone that uses a similar platform and compare results.
P.S. I recently got married and blogged about social connections making it happen. It’s got pictures which this blog is sadly missing.