Today’s post is by Barbara Akst, President and CEO of Training Unlimited and an esteemed Kenyon Associate. Barbara’s expertise in identifying and solving management and census issues, coupled with her training, coaching and mentoring skills are a perfect formula for homecare management and sales success. This article is a continuation of Homecare Networking, Is It A Lost Art? Part I.
Once you have answered the questions stated in the proceeding article you will have the start of your homecare networking action plan. Next, put together a calendar of the professional and community events you will attend. Find out about opportunities to do educational presentations at any of the community events you selected. Oftentimes presentations must be scheduled well in advance (sometimes even a year ahead of time) but it is worth it. Take the time to schedule at least one educational presentation a month. It will significantly increase the visibility of your organization and the success of your networking.
Homecare Networking Action Plan
When you know which homecare networking events you will attend – what is it you want to accomplish at each event? It’s OK to have different goals for different events. However, at a given event, you must know what you want to achieve. Now you are ready to network! You’ve set your goals, you know what you want to accomplish and you have arrived at your event.
What’s next? Before you even get out of your car, look in your rear view mirror and smile! That’s right – take a deep breath and smile at yourself. Why? Because taking a deep breath and smiling helps you create an air of confidence. By displaying self-assurance, you help others establish confidence in your organization. The moment you step out of the car, you may be creating a first impression with a new contact. They might even be deciding if you are someone they want to learn more about. As they learn more about you, they’re going to learn about your organization and that’s why you’re at this event!
Homecare Networking Confidence
Walk into the event with confidence! Keep your head high and look around the room. We all have a tendency to look for someone we know and make a beeline for them. We do this because we feel safe with what we know. Your purpose at this event is to expand your circle of referral sources and educate about your services. So, look for someone you don’t know and approach them. Keep in mind that networking is scary for many and others will welcome your efforts to meet them.
Your contact with everyone, whether you know them or not, should begin with a handshake while introducing yourself. Say your name clearly, repeating your first name twice, include the name of your company and your company tag line. Example: Hi, I am Carol, Carol Jones with ABC Home Care, where we treat your family as our own. If the person doesn’t respond with the same information about themselves, ask them. Listen carefully for their name (so you can use it later in the conversation) and pay close attention to their handshake.
Their handshake enables to you learn a lot about them immediately.
- Is it firm or soft and wimpy?
- Did your knuckles crack when they shook your hand?
- Was the hand wet, dry, clammy?
After the handshake, you form an impression of the person and your behavior will vary based upon that impression! If you liked them, you will feel more comfortable and it will be easy to chat. If the handshake makes you feel uncomfortable, you will try and make your ‘escape’ as quickly as possible. Remember, the other person is also forming an impression about you based on your handshake. Be sure the way you shake hands communicates what you want the other person to know.
Learn About Their Organization When Homecare Networking
Now that you have formed your first impression, it’s time to learn more about their organization, their role and how you or your organization can help them. That’s right – you want to learn how to help their business succeed. This is the best way to make a memorable impression on your new contact and to determine how you will follow-up after the event. Remember:
- Do not spend more then 7 – 10 minutes with one person
- Your time should be spent meeting new people
- Goal at each event is to schedule at least five ‘one-on-one’ appointments with new contacts
- Follow-up appointments present the opportunity to showcase your organization
- Sharing how you can be a benefit to them leads to more referrals
Next Steps After the Homecare Networking Event
The most important thing to do at any networking event is to LISTEN. If you truly listen, you will have a specific purpose for every follow-up. Having a reason to call on a potential referral source makes the next contact much easier, worthwhile for both of you and sets the stage for a successful partnership.
Successful homecare networking is all about ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO’. Know which events are best to attend, whom you want to see and what you want to accomplish during and following the event. If you do this, you will reap the benefits of growing your business.
Happy Homecare Networking!
If you have questions or need more information about how Kenyon HomeCare Consulting can assist you with customer relations, contact us or call 206-721-5091 today. Our relationship training will improve your networking techniques, telephone skills and sales training to increase your referrals. We also provide management education and mentoring to improve your interviewing methods, time management, communication, delegation, and decision making abilities.