When asked what value you provide to others what is your answer?
Regardless of your business or employment position what personal value do you bring to the table? Are you able to make or save people money, or just take it from them?
In business, and networking especially, it is imperative that you are able to differentiate yourself from the competition. The typical answers I get from people, when I ask what differentiates them, are “I provide excellent customer service,” or “We give more personalized service then others.” Since when is quality customer service and personal support classified as an impressive and differentiating quality? I want to say to these people, “Congratulations! You are doing your job correctly!” Doing your job the way it is supposed to be done should never be what makes you a more attractive person to do business with.
While you are out networking and building your business may I encourage you to spend time focusing on helping other people get closer to their goal. You may not have a referral, but without a doubt you can have quality contacts that you know can benefit any business. Familiarizing yourself with other resources is essential in increasing your value. For instance, I have someone who has quoted every colleague of mine who has 2 or more phone lines well over a 20%+ savings on their reoccurring telecommunications costs. Not only am I able to make my friend money, I am able to save a potential client or colleague money as well. Wouldn’t you like to have someone around that can make or save you money as often as possible?
There are countless ways you can increase your value. Take some time to learn about other events going on in your area, what are good websites with valuable info, who can save people money, who are great resources to introduce others to? All of these are areas YOU have control over. Familiarize yourself with them and you will start to find out more and more people will want to do business with you. Not only that, but some people will even go out of their way to help you!
Good luck and get out there and make it happen!