Touchy Feely Networking

In News by Sharron Attwood

As you build and develop your networks – whichever way you choose to do so (and we have covered a lot of options in past columns) – we get to know you better. We get to know each other better. But how much thought are you putting in to what you are putting out? How effective are you in building my idea of you – and how quickly do I come around to knowing you, liking you, and trusting you so that we can do business?

Everyone has a Personal Brand – you can’t escape it – so you may as well embrace it. Your Personal Brand is best described as whatever someone says about you after you have left the room. It’s your reputation –the impression you make – your mark. In business, it also contributes a touchpoint in the journey towards getting to do business with you, to refer you, to know, like and trust you.

Knowing you are the brand – it’s important to realise you have a responsibility to understand the ‘customer experience’ you offer. Just as a shop front or product creates, analyses and understands their customer’s experience of them – the same applies when you are the brand. How do people experience you? What do they take away? Just as importantly though – what do they tell others.

It’s often quoted that it takes 6 – 8 ‘touchpoints’ to turn a curious lead into someone ready to make a buying decision.

“Touchpoint Guru” Hank Brigman defines a touchpoint as an influential action initiated by a communication, a human contact or a physical or sensory interaction. Each touchpoint is a message that literally “touches” a customer in some way. Collectively, touchpoints create the customer’s experience.

What are the touchpoints your network will encounter when getting to know you – on their journey towards buying ‘you’?  This can result in a referral, invitation to quote or even a sale.

This may be distinct however, from their decision to buy your product or service. Buying into you is big part of that process however, and one that is too often overlooked.

So what are the touchpoints you offer currently and what can you consider?

To follow is by no means a comprehensive list, but It’ll get you started.

  • Your intro – your BBQ pitch – your elevator pitch – your spiel – all contribute towards one or more touchpoints. What feedback have you had on your ability explain what you do or the problem you solve? How effective is your introduction when it comes to creating curiosity and conversation?
  • Online profiles such as LinkedIn must be up to date. More than just a online resume – they can really give depth to your experience.
  • Google yourself – what will your network find? Does the search return see you in the best possible light? Is it relevant to your current business?
  • Your personal sense of style. Uniforms or free style – your appearance speaks volumes. Do you look the part? Is how you look relevant? Have you ever really given it much thought?  It can also be that the clothes are not always the issue – but rather it’s the way they make us feel. Feeling confident can be seen from a distance.
  • Do you sound the part? Your tone, volume, grasp of grammar – all contribute to your Personal Brand.
  • How others speak about you is also a touchpoint – social proof and confirmation that you are as awesome as your marketing says you are. The opinions of others carry more weight than what we say about ourselves. It sounds simple enough – but are we aware enough of this impact? As much as it’s a touchpoint – it’s also the foundation of Personal Brand.

I wrote a few months ago about how we can know of you before we meet you. This month we are looking at how we can know you before, during and after meeting you.

It’s a journey and the touch points are like signposts. I need them to point me in the right direction – and you should make it so!