Networking is a fantastic way for you to find new customers and grow your business. You can network with anyone you meet starting with your own family and friends through to attending networking meetings with other business people.
Networking events are a great way to make new contacts and find those new customers that you are looking for. The people you meet may become customers but do look beyond that. You are looking for contacts that can bring you new customers so the people you meet may not do any business with you but may well refer others to you.
Avoid the hard sell
When you attend a networking event don’t go for the hard sell. It won’t work. Take time to get to know people and be interested in others not yourself. Tell people about what you do but don’t be tempted to sell. We all like to do business with people we like and so spend time getting to know people and let others get to know you.
Take the time to listen to others. A good listener is more likely to benefit from networking as you will be the person others turn to, to solve a problem and your product or service will be the solution. Always remember this: ‘people buy people’ and that is what networking is all about.
When you meet new people, make sure that you keep in touch with them by email, phone or Twitter. It is always good to email everyone within 24 hours that you have met at an event so make sure that you have their business card and email address. In your email express how it was good to have met them at the networking event and make any comments that will build your relationship with them.
When you attend a meeting or indeed if you are out and likely to meet anyone make sure that you have business cards with you and any brochures or leaflets that you could give them.
Learn the right skills
At a networking event you are presenting yourself so do take lessons on presentation and public speaking skills so that you will stand out from the crowd. You need to learn to say a lot with very few words! Practice your introduction and presentations so that you can do them confidently and this will enhance the fact that you are an expert in your field and you will become a “must know” person.
Make sure that you devote time to networking and do not expect instant results. If you visit a group once a month in may take 6 months or more before people feel ready to do business with you. Therefore if you stop going after a month or two you will have lost out on a great opportunity for business.
Don’t worry about the type of businesses that you network with. For instance if you are a photographer and very few people at the events you attend use a photographer they will most likely know people who do or will need to use one later. Look beyond the people you meet as I mentioned earlier and aim for getting known as a good person to use and the referrals will come flooding in.
Networking does work
So don’t delay a moment longer – start networking with everyone you meet and find groups that you can join to network with and you will find that you can really grow your business.