Marketing does not have to cost a fortune. In fact, it can be as cheap as chips. Here are some thoughts on how to market your business for free through the networking groups on your doorstep…
Brighton and Hove Business Lunch Club

Network with Attitude!
We don’t really buy products or services, we buy people. We like to deal with people who make us feel good.
How do we meet such people? The easiest way is to go networking. Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Each month, they are likely to have breakfast, lunch or evening meetings, where you can hear a speaker and meet other business people keen to network.
Networking is one of the simplest, cheapest and most efficient forms or marketing ever invented. But how many people do it correctly? Very few!
Preparation
There are probably 10 events a month in your area. Don’t be a Network Tart, who turns up at all the events, flirts around without making any impact, then departs early.
Be choosy. Establish which events are most appropriate. Go through the delegate list and identify people or companies that you would like to have a conversation with.
Work out what messages you want to convey. Choose language carefully to explain what your company does. Too technical and you’ll lose your audience.
What do I say?
People love to talk about themselves – so FORD
F – Family
O – Occupation/ career
R – Recreation – what do people enjoy doing in their spare time
D – Dreams / Goals
Get them talking about these and they will think you are the most interesting person in the world – even though you might not have told them anything about yourself – remember … be interested, not interesting.
Set yourself targets and challenges
For example – you’re going to tell five chosen people about a particular aspect of your business or you’re going to get five business cards and pave the way for a follow up call to at least one of them.
When do I move in for the kill?
Networking is not a blood sport. Before you shoot them in the heart with your sharpened business card, think of how you can win their trust. Do they have a particular need; is there any free advice you can offer; is there somebody you could recommend to them? Do as much as you can to start a business friendship rather than a cold and calculated hard sell. Aim to come away with three contacts you would like to do business with.
The Referral Circle
Broker relationships with companies who can refer business to you. For Cobb PR, it would design agencies, printers, our clients.
How do I get rid of people
You’ve engaged somebody in conversation, only to find out that he makes your accountant look like a mad axe murderer. You don’t want to be rude, so what can you do?
Have a couple of excuses ready. These might include:
“I’m keen to ask the speaker a question, would you excuse me for a minute?”
“There’s a person I must quickly say hello to, but you’re welcome to join us.”
What do I do afterwards?
Like all relationships, you have to invest time to make it work. Phone call follow-ups, meetings, further offers of assistance. The list is endless.
Tim Cobb
To get some more networking tips, contact Cobb PR here

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