Networking is possibly the best and cheapest advertising strategy you may use to build your company or practice, particularly in the event that you do business in the regional area.
A good deal of business owners and professionals I speak to say they don’t want to communicate or that they have not seen any results from it. That is likely because they do not understand how to do it or they might have unrealistic expectations regarding the timing of outcomes.
I do a good deal of media both off and online. However, even when you’re somewhat on the shy side or have reservations regarding the prospect of success with media, you can obtain value from this action if you follow specific guidelines.
1. Pick the proper venues.
Not every set of individuals will be perfect for you. Pick groups where folks congregate who share your interests and/or are possible customers. Chambers of Commerce, men’s and women’s associations, media classes, special interest groups, and institutions are all possible options.
2. Create relationships.
Networking isn’t about selling, but instead developing relationships which may result in referrals or sales.
Frequently, folks approach websites with the expectation of making a purchase or obtaining a customer after one trip to a proper group. That is not how it usually happens. People do business with people they trust and know that it might take time to develop that trust and knowledge. So organise a media event with no anticipation of getting new business but with the hope of improving in other aspects.
3. Dress professionally and appropriately.
Establish yourself as an effective individual, which you may do with dressing the part. This doesn’t mean that you have to wear expensive clothes, but do wear something somewhat on the appropriate or professional side and abandon the cosy baggy pants at home.
4. Be ready.
Bring lots of business cards, but just give them to folks who show a genuine interest in what you’re doing. Brochures or published postcards may also be powerful. Additionally, craft a brief description of everything you can do — no longer than 10 or 15 minutes.
5. Ask questions and pay attention.
You do not need to speak a lot about what you are doing to be able to discover prospective clients. Instead, ask people that you meet questions regarding them and their organisation, then listen carefully to their responses. Locate points of commonality which you’re able to bring into the dialogue.
6. Sit with people that you do not understand.
Many events have walk-around media followed with a sit-down assembly of some type. Throughout the walk-around, do speak to people you’ve met before to improve your connection, however, sit with people that you are unfamiliar with to expand your community and meet potential clients.
7. Speak to folks that are standing.
If somebody is standing, that is the ideal chance to make a new business relationship.
8. Proceed — politely.
Do not devote all your time speaking to a single individual. Collect the information that you require, swap business cards, if welcomed, and proceed. I frequently say, “I would love to do a little mixing today. It has been a pleasure talking to you.”
9. Focus on what you could do to others, not what they could do to you.
Maybe you know somebody who may use your prospects solutions.
10. Follow up.
If you start a strong relationship with a new contact during the event, afterwards send a message to let them know you enjoyed the conversation. When appropriate, send a guide or some type of information which they may discover helpful. Don’t add them to a mailing list without their consent.
Just take some opportunity to create relationships with those who interest you. Be proactive and encourage someone into a one-time meeting so that you may get to understand them. These hints may be influential solutions for your business and create a certain buzz around your company.
Bear in mind that many business owners and professionals are searching for connections. Be daring and step forward in their world.