How to get talked about when you are not in the room

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Networking is one of the most effective forms of marketing, especially when you run your own business.  Even with the explosion of sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, nothing quite beats being able to get in front of “real” people, shaking them by the hand and having a face-to-face conversation.

But, let’s be honest here.  The big downside of networking is time.  There are only so many hours in a working week and, although it is very easy to attend networking events from breakfast right through to evening drinks, it doesn’t allow you, the business owner, much time to manage your day-to-day business.

One of the best definitions of successful networking I have come across is “being talked about when you’re not in the room.”

So if this creates an opportunity to use the power of networking without physically networking,, how can you come up in these conversations?

The secret to this is in what you offer.

Getting yourself talked about is not about defining yourself with a job title but helping others clearly understand how you may benefit specific people.  And the clearer and more specific you are in what problems you there to solve, the easier it is for people to bring you up in conversation.

That’s right – I’m talking niches here!

Let me give you an example:  Coaching.

You can’t go to a networking event without bumping in to at least 2 or 3 coaches in the room, can you?  And what do they all tell you what it is they do?  Yup, that’s right – coaching.

But what makes them stand out from each other?  Not an awful lot, to be honest.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am sure that a lot of coaches are lovely people!  And yes, some of them say they are career coaches, business coaches or help people with their work/life balance.

But come on – how many coaches have you met in the last few weeks who stand out enough for you to have specifically talked about them to someone else?

Let me ask you another question.  Of the people you have met over the last few weeks, who have you talked about to other people?  And let’s go one stage further.  Who have you talked about to someone else, only to find that 2 other people also know their name?

How powerful is that?  Instant social proof that this person must be someone to be contacted if not just one person mentions them, but 2 others do as well.

More often than not, the real reason behind you remembering this person is because they were “niche” enough for you trigger a “oh, really – that’s interesting”.

They were “niche” enough for you to check them out on LinkedIn or have a read of their blog when you were back in your office.  Perhaps they were even “niche” enough for you to sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Twitter.

Telling people what you do is not enough to get you remembered.  And being “niche” enough is not just about targeting a particular client type.

Being “niche” enough is about being able to clearly define yourself in terms of what problems you solve and the results that your clients achieve.  The more specific and niche you are in the results you create, the easier it is for someone to “get you”.  And thus talk about you.

And remember, it’s not just about the conversations that happen in networking events.  The share-ability of social media makes you being talked about online even more powerful.  Someone’s comments about you become evergreen, staying right there for others to read and share too.

So stop telling people about what it is you “do”.  And start getting clearer on your “niche” so that others remember the problems you solve and the results you create.

Got a comment to make? I’d love to read your thoughts and ideas

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