Lucky 13 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer. There’s one thing you’ve probably heard your entire career, no matter what field you’re in. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. There is a lot of truth to that statement. The bigger your network, the more prospects you have that may want to buy your domain names. I’m not talking about “social networks” like Facebook or LinkedIn. I’m talking about real networking. Where you get to know people and maintain the relationships. There are many ways to accomplish this, but you have to do it properly for it to be effective.
Monday, I wrote about domain conferences as a great way to meet contacts. But it’s not the only way. Let’s take a look at some other means of networking. Yeah, there is social media, but that gets enough attention and it’s not the type of networking you need reminding of. Consider some of the following:
Organized Networking Events – I don’t know how, but somehow I ended up on a few different networking email lists, including meetu.com and networkafterwork.com, and I’m glad I did. I’ve attended a few of these after work events and I not only had a great time, got some free swag (note: I’m no longer impressed with free swag as much as I once was. Now it’s just crap I have laying around my office making it harder to find stuff I need) and met people from different lines of work. I attended one Social Media Day event that was pretty cool. The best part about that event is that no one was on their phones looking at social media. We were all talking and mingling and making connections.
Through Friends and Family – A friend and neighbor of mine, lets call him Dave because that really is his name, has introduced me to several contacts that relate to my line of work. He has done this in an easy, casual way such as over a few drinks at the local bar or at a neighborhood party. This has given me some good connections and one I am currently working with on some business opportunities. You don’t have to travel far to make solid connections. You just need to have the right mindset when meeting new people.
Chamber of Commerce – Your local chamber of commerce holds events and socials that will get you mixing with other businesses in your area. As a domainer, you’re bringing something to the table there that, likely, no one else is. Think about the audience you have there. All business people looking to get more business and you have a way to help them.
To do something right, there are always some steps you need to follow. Get good at each step and you have a formula for developing a kick-ass offline network.
- Just meet people, don’t try to sell them, don’t ask for anything. Your initial contact is not a sales pitch. It’s an introduction. Don’t blow it by jumping into your pitch right off the bat. Chill out, chat, enjoy the conversation. You’re not looking to make a buck here…. yet.
- Don’t only focus on people that can help you. Obviously you want to make connections with people that can help you. It’s important to make connections with people you can help to. Why? Because down the line they may need your service or know someone who does. If you clearly focus only on those that benefit you, you’re going to look like a jerk. Besides, don’t you want people to help you as well?
- Be clear about what it is that you do, in a short and concise way. When you do meet someone new, tell them what you do and how you’re special. Keep it short and sweet. Remember, it’s not a sales pitch, it’s an introduction.
- Take more time to learn about them than you do talking about yourself. This is pretty much a golden rule in life. Spend more time listening than talking. There are two reasons for this. First, people love talking about themselves. They’ll walk away thinking, “that Sully is a good guy” when all I’ve done is let them speak, paid attention and asked some probing questions. Some people are natural talkers. I’m a natural listener. Second, you learn about their wants and needs. This puts you in a position to understand what you can do for them. To understand what types of domains would benefit them.
- Follow up. After you meet someone, you should follow up with them shortly after meeting them. A day or two is typically a good spacer. Some suggest you write a hand written note. Sure, that’s nice, but a quick text or phone call saying, “Glad we had a chance to talk on Saturday” is usually plenty.
- Follow up again. You don’t want that to be the last time you connect before you try to sell a name or get some leads. I like to follow up with some people in my network monthly. I’ll send and article on something I come across that might be of interest to them. If I know I’ll be in the area, I’ll suggest lunch. You want to keep the connection going and not let it die out in silence.
Now you know the steps, here are a few tips to help you accomplish them. Take them or leave them. Do what works for you.
Have a good story – I like to tell a good domain story to pique the interest of my contacts when I first meet them. There are plenty of great stories you can share about successful domains. Read the blogs and you’ll always have some good ones. I’ve collected a small handful I like to tell when I meet people. This is enough material to meet several people in one night and not repeat the same canned story over and over again.
Business Cards – You may have heard of these. People used to carry them around and hand them out to people. I still find them useful and yes, I have my own. When someone gives me a business card, I usually end up snapping a photo of it into Evernote from my phone, but it’s still a convenient way top pass along contact information.
Elevator Pitch – I mentioned in step 3 that you want to tell them what you do in an accurate and concise way. Develop your elevator pitch in advance so your not stumbling when someone asks.
Keep Notes – I’ve mentioned notes at least twice in this series. The fact is, I can’t remember ANYTHING and never could. Sure, in the moment I think “there is no way I will forget that George’s daughter is studying computer security.” Sure enough, in a day or two, “Who the hell is George?” I like to keep records of people I meet and what I learn about them. It helps me when I follow up to provide some relevant information. “Hey George, I came a cross this article on computer security and though your daughter Nancy might find it interesting.”
Reminders to Follow up – I don’t do this as often as I should, but it wouldn’t hurt to set reminders to follow up with your contacts. Not that you need to email Jeff ever second Thursday of the month, but just a reminder that it’s been a while since you’ve talked to someone and it would be a good idea to touch base.
Enough on networking for today, if you are interested in discussing more, let me know. Always happy to chat. You can also find plenty of great books (or audio books) on the topic as well.