This is the 3rd in a series of blogs discussing how to run a successful credit repair business. We started with marketing because it’s so important and what everyone seems to want to know about. “How can I generate leads for my credit repair business”? We’ve already covered 2 very important topics, Warm Market and Generating Referrals from Professionals in Credit Related Industries. You can read those blog posts and see the associated videos at ERA Credit Services Credit Repair Blog.
This blog is about Business Networking. Many of the same tips will apply to meeting, and developing relationships with, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and others that need clients with a good credit score.
It's All About Exposure
It’s imperative to expose what you do to as many people as possible. And you want to be time-efficient. So, how can you accelerate the process? Talk to a lot of people that know a lot of people and have influence. Typically, business owners and people in sales that work for large companies know a lot of people, have influence and are good talkers. So, go find these people and make sure that they know what you do. Where can you go and find a lot of business owners in one place and meet a lot of them in a short period of time? In business networking groups you’ll meet a lot of people in one place that needs to know what you do.
In the last blog about getting referrals from people in credit-related industries, I suggested going to board of realtor meetings. I also recommended attending meetings with the following organizations to meet more people in real estate and related professions.
Visit their websites to see if they have a chapter in your area.
The World of Business Networking
Go to Business networking meetings. Business networking is crucial when getting your business started. I believe that in learning how to run a successful credit repair business, it's one of the most important things you can do. There is a whole new world of networking out there that is waiting for you to discover it. Now, there always has been business networking. When my Dad owned a business in our hometown, he was a member of the Rotary Club. I remember going to a Rotary Club meeting with him and what I recall is all men gathering around and talking about what guys talk about. But they also developed a bond and realized that supporting and getting support from other business owners was very important.
When I started my working career in the 1980’s I joined a LeTip networking group. Like a lot of national or even international networking groups, it was more formal, and members were expected to show up each week and bring leads for their fellow members. Looking back, it was a bit too formal for me. I prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.
Business Networking is for Every Business Owner
Today business networking is much more open to everyone and there are a ton of different types of groups out there. When I started my credit repair business in 2012, I went to a lot of group meetings and settled into the ones I enjoyed the most. I suggest you do the same thing. Go to many. Ask people that you know if they know of any business networking groups you could go to. They typically will if they are a business owner. Go with them or go on your own. There’s nothing like walking into a room full of strangers and being asked by a lot of people what it is that you do. You’ll get good at your response very quickly.
A website you should visit to look for groups to attend is www.meetup.com. There are likely to be dozens, if not hundreds of groups you can choose from. I would choose something fairly close to home and that meets at a time that is convenient for you. If it’s far and you’re pushed for time you may find it easy to make excuses not to go.
Tips for Networking
Here’s some advice for you before you attend your 1st meeting. Part of learning how to run a successful credit repair business is learning how business should be done. Practice what you’ll tell people about what you do. Some people call it an elevator pitch. And, you’ll need to have different versions of it. You’ll need a one-minute version for when it’s your turn to stand up and tell the group what you do. You’ll need a 30-second version for quickly sharing with someone when you’re socializing after the formal part of the meeting or if there is no formal part of the meeting.
When you do get to stand up and share your business you must do what I’m about to tell you. Tell them who it is that’s your typical customer. And, tell them who it is that you're looking to partner with. In your case, that’s going to be real estate agents, mortgage brokers, etc. You have to tell people why you’re there. Don’t think they’ll figure it out on their own.
Your One-Minute Speech
Here’s an example of a one-minute speech at a networking event. Make sure you’re wearing a big smile so people realize how happy you are to be there. Smiles can hide nervousness too!
“Good evening everyone! My name is Dale Guiducci and my company is ERA Credit Services. We specialize in helping people improve their credit score and other areas of their finances. We are a nationwide company with an A+ BBB rating and my concentration is right here in the Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater area. We also work with real estate agents, mortgage brokers, bankers, and solar companies to help their clients that get turned down due to credit score, become qualified buyers. So, I’m here to ask that if you know anyone in these professions, that you let them know about me so I can set up a time to talk with them about helping them close more transactions and make more money in 2019. It’s great to be here and I look forward to meeting you all individually. Dale Guiducci, ERA Credit Services.”
That’s it. Write out something like that for yourself. Practice, practice, practice. Your preparation and knowing this cold will help you overcome any nervousness. I know I get nervous sometimes still. But I know it so well I can get it anyway and no one even notices.
If It Scares You That’s Another Reason to Do It
If you would rather run out into traffic than stand up and speak for a minute I totally understand. I was that person. Well, not really. I’d rather not put my life in danger, and neither would you. But if it makes you nervous here’s 2 things to keep in mind. You need to get passed it. Your nervousness is holding you back. Not just from speaking. It’s a self-confidence issue. The only way I found to get passed it, is to do it. Over and over again. To learn how to run a successful credit repair business you should learn how to be comfortable speaking in front of people. Once you do get passed it you’ll feel like a million bucks and your confidence will take a giant step forward.
And, keep this in mind. Most of the people there get nervous too. It’s not like you’re the only one. If your nervousness shows, so what? You can even tell people it’s your first time and that you're nervous. They’ll support you. Not be critical of you.
The Importance, or Not of Business Cards
You’ll also need business cards. Now, I rarely have business cards with me. It doesn’t phase me when someone asks me for a card and I don’t have one. I apologize for not having any and get their card. Never forget this. You’re not there to hand out cards. You’re there to collect other people’s cards! You want to be in control of being able to call them on the phone and rekindle the conversation you started with them at the meeting. But when you’re new at this and probably nervous you don’t need the added pressure of feeling like you’re unprepared without business cards.
Here’s another tip. Never hand out your card unless you are asked for a card. Don’t be that person that runs around handing out their cards. Trust me. It’s the fastest way to turn off everyone in the room.
Keep the Conversation About Them
When you’re speaking to someone keep the conversation about them and their business. You might think, “Well wait a minute Dale. Aren’t I there to let people know what I do”? Yes, you are. But before you do that you want to get people to like and trust you first. Then when you do tell them what you do, they’ll be more accepting and interested. And, there’s no better way to get someone to like you than letting them talk about themselves. You’ll have ample opportunity to introduce your business. They’ll typically ask you. If they don’t, you’ll get creative and find ways to weave it into the conversation. This is a huge tip!
A bonus to going to business networking meetings is that they typically have a member that’s in real estate, one in the mortgage business, and one in banking. These are key contacts for you. You’ll most often get their attention when you have one minute to stand up and explain what you do.
Follow Up with People
When you do meet people that you feel can drive business your way, follow up with them. Don’t expect they’ll send business your way right away unless you get to know them better. Set up a time to drop by their office. Or, meet them for lunch or coffee. Now that you’ve met them the ice has been broken. They’ll be very open to meeting with you individually.
As I mentioned, visit many groups. You’re not going to “feel it” with every group. Some are going to be more stuffy than others. Others will be more fun. Some will be more open to new members. That’s just the way it is. If you go to your first meeting and don’t have the best experience, don’t let that deter you from going to others. Over time you’ll get comfortable with the people in the group. They might even become your friends.
My last tip for how to run a successful credit repair business is a big one as well. Always keep in the back of your mind why you’re there. You’re there to get business. Yes, you want to be sociable. But learn to identify people that are in networking groups because they need a social outlet. They can waste your time. Identify those that are friendly enough but are there to do business just like you are.
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