Networking: The Cost of a Connection

"Networking is a waste of time," said JoAnne, owner of a busy print shop. "Besides, I advertise in the daily paper."

"Wow, that must be expensive," I exclaimed. "Are you getting results from that investment?"

"I sure hope so! My advertising budget is about $475 a month but I've never really tracked the results. I guess I should do that."

"You should." I replied. "A small business can't afford to waste money on ineffective advertising. But back to your comment about networking: why do you think it's a waste of time?"

"I don't know how to connect with people and make a lasting impression," she replied. "Maybe I should give something so people will remember me."

"Not a bad idea. It's the best way to be remembered. Give potential clients something of value and it's easier to make that follow up call."

"But how much value will make an impression?" she asked suspiciously.

"Good question! But let me ask you this: How big of an impression do you want to make?"

"Enough so I can follow up with a call and they'll remember who I am. Once I've made the connection, the rest of the process is easy. It's making that first connection that's difficult."

"If you knew how many people came to your shop as a result of your advertisement, that would give you an idea of what you're now paying for a connection," I suggested.

"What do you mean?" she asked, her interest rising.

"Well, advertising can be effective if you understand how it works. Most business owners don't, but spend their hard earned dollars advertising anyway. It's a well-worn business tradition. But let's say your $475 a month advertising brings you ten new connections a month. You're basically paying $47.50 a connection or, we can call it a lead. How does that make you feel?"

"$47.50 per lead? That's outrageous! Especially since they may not even become a customer."

"Exactly. But if they do become a customer, $47.50 may not be out of line," I replied. "But it gives you an idea of how much you are paying to get a lead. If you could be more accurate on placing that $47.50, you would have more control over the growth of your business."

"But how do I do that?" JoAnne asked glancing at her advertisement.

"My point was to answer your question about how much 'value' should you give to make a connection. First you have to decide how much a connection is worth. People will assess your sincerity on how much value you put into the connection. It's like a handshake. A firm engaging grip says one thing; a wimpy shake says another."

"So give me some examples of how to give something of value from a business that would have impact."

"Discounts for first time buyers are nice," I said, "but everyone does the discount thing. Give something that stands out. A friend of mine gives a copy of his book, nicely packaged in a wooden case, to anyone he wants to do business with. Another business owner gives away CDs with a selection of Celtic music. Then there's the landscaper who brings rose bushes to every networking event he attends and gives them away for free. His cost? $12.95 per bush. He told me that his 'bush give-a-way' was the most effective strategy in growing his business. If you were to do that with your $475 advertising budget, you could give away 36 rose bushes a month. Do you think that would be more rewarding than placing an advertisement?

"You see, every business has to generate new leads. Telemarketing, cold calling, advertising are all shots in the dark ? an expensive way to find the specific customer you're looking for. But in a networking situation, you have control over the audience. First of all, you're only going to attend those events that serve your business needs. Second, you're there in person-the power of one-on-one communication. And third, by offering something of value, you are initiating the relationship. It's a powerful way to build a business."

"Wow! That puts networking into a whole new league," JoAnne replied.

"Yes, networking works if you put something of value into it ... more than just a business card or a handshake. It's a powerful tool once you know how to use it."

Luke Vorstermans owns and manages a successful publishing and communications company and is the Editor of Business Dynamics magazine and content contributor to IR Design.

Private Practice Marketing: A Soaking Wet Marketing Marvel

Last week I took our two boys on an all guy vacation to the Nickelodeon... Read More

25 Ways To Get More Business

Special Requirements for Reprint: we ask only that you include Pauls name and... Read More

Marketing on the Cheap: Write? Right!!

We all know the value of writing articles for promoting your website or online store.... Read More

How A Tiny 10 Year Old Girl Can Throw A 20 Stone Man - 3 Key Lessons In The Gentle Art Of Business

Half my immediate family trained in Judo and excelled in competition. I was always fascinated... Read More

Using a Contact List Profitably Part One

In previous articles, we discussed the generation of a contact list. This time, we look... Read More

What to Include in Your Marketing Plan Write-Up

For those new to marketing planning, the thought of completing a plan from start... Read More

Marketing Got You Stumped?

It's not unusual for entrepreneurs to find the whole idea of marketing intimidating. Even... Read More

Marketing 101: The Power of Marketing

When you hear the word "marketing" what comes to mind? More business or wasted... Read More

Marketing Brain Trust

Rest assured that no matter how smart you are, you do not know everything about... Read More

Maximizing Your Yellow Page Investment

Yellow Page users are the hottest of all prospects ? someone who has made the... Read More

Newsletters - A Great Way to Build Business Relationships

This is an excellent way to grow your business using your mailing list (which I... Read More

5 High-Impact Marketing Tips

Here are 5 high-impact marketing tips you can use to boost your sales quickly.... Read More

Selling To Your Affiliates

While success with any internet marketing program falls on the head of the marketer,... Read More

Get FREE Web Tips From Your Competition

I knew this one would get your attention. How can you, the savvy business entrepreneur,... Read More

Maslows Marketing Filter

One of the basics of all marketing and advertising training is a teaching of... Read More

Boost Your Direct Mail Response Rates with Mapping Technology

On Superbowl Sunday, Domino's Pizza delivered more than 900,000 pizzas-and mapping technology helped. How do... Read More

Nurture Sales Leads with Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail is a cost-effective way to make sales and generate leads. But it's also... Read More

The 3 Unknown Steps of Marketing Success

To be your own marketing expert you first need to know where to begin.... Read More

Direct Mail Response Devices and How to Craft Them

Successful direct mail packages contain three things: an attractive offer, a call to action, and... Read More

Marketing to a Critical Mass

In "Developing a Marketing Plan", we covered the first steps to developing a marketing... Read More

Increase New Customer Traffic to Your Business

One person tells another, who tells another, who tells another and so on. You get... Read More

Loan Officer Websites: Your Marketing Hub to Magnetize Realtors

Too many loan officer websites look like congested intersections, information running every which way. Fancy... Read More

Benefits of Developing & Maintaining a Database

A database is more than a simple list of names and addresses. What... Read More

Like Brushing Your Teeth

What do the following things have in common: brushing your teeth, regular exercise, eating a... Read More

Chamber Of Commerce Meetings

If you run a small business you should be a member of the local chamber... Read More

Whats Your NICHE Market ? III ?

What effect are the baby boomers having on the economy I hear you ask. Folks,... Read More

Youre Halfway There!...Or Not Part 1

The year is almost over and the last half of this year will fly by... Read More

Using Purchased Leads

A little advice about using leads that you purchase from another source;These are not opt-in... Read More

Marketing Tips 101 - Where Can I Get Clients From?

The following tips have come from a wide variety of sources; some from other successful... Read More

The Added Effectiveness of Promotional Products in Your Marketing Plan

Recently, I stopped by a new car wash in my town and while preparing to... Read More

A Common - Yet Easily Avoidable - Marketing Mistake

December is a month in which many organizations make plans for the coming year. Now... Read More

What Does Your Business Address Say?

If you are operating a business from your home and your post office address clearly... Read More

Writing Sales Letters That Sell

The most important part of any marketing you do is direct marketing. This... Read More

Should You Clap For Your Customers?

Does it make sense to clap for your customers? It does not, you answer. You... Read More

Client Attraction Technique #1: Niche Marketing

When asked "what business are you in" many business owners often identify an industry, for... Read More

Meaning and Marketing - The Trigger

In previous articles under "Meaning and Marketing", we have learned about the verb "To Be"... Read More

4 Easy Ways to Get Free Marketing Exposure

Are there really ways you can get valuable marketing exposure without spending any money?... Read More

Seven Secrets For Building Customer Loyalty In Your Restaurant

Imagine how much your sales and profits would increase if each of your customers come... Read More

Reasons Why People Usually Dont Buy Again

There are many psychological reasons why people will buy from the first time and why... Read More

Walking Talking Advertisements

So you've made a sale. Great!Now what? You're not just going to sell your new... Read More

Your Marketing Plan - Prerequisite to Success

Marketing is a vital aspect of a business' operations. It has been said that, "Nothing... Read More

Second Dose Of Marketing Vitamins

Organizations often get stuck in neutral when it comes to marketing. Sometimes, you just... Read More

8 Instant Ways to Create Consistently Successful Marketing Campaigns

It's almost a given that when I speak to a new client, she tells me... Read More

The 10 Cornerstone Principles of Marketing

There are four parts to a marketing system and they rest on ten cornerstones.... Read More

Has the Internet Killed Off the Direct Mail Baron?

Over the past 30 years, direct mail has been responsible for generating vast amounts of... Read More

How to Turn a Marketing Calendar into Marketing Success!

Do you have a list of marketing ideas that you'd like to implement, but... Read More

Leverage The Power Of Using Flyers To Advertise Your Online Product or Service Offline

One commonly overlooked method of advertising offline is flyers. Flyers are extremely easy to create.... Read More

Forward Thinkers Stay Ahead of the Curve

What is it like from a marketing perspective to be yesterday's news? We rely... Read More

Why You Buy, Part Two

More of the findings of the recent studies in behavioral economics:Webers LawA change of stimulus... Read More

Five Tips to Make Your Marketing More Creative

Same old same old just doesn't sell anymore. To make your marketing stand... Read More