In order to grow your business, you must network, and you must network often. But for many entrepreneurs, the thought of doing a lot of networking can be daunting. Many times I hear from clients, “I network all the time, but I really don’t get much business from it”. Or I hear, “I went to three events last week, but they weren’t very good”.
So, here are a couple of questions for you. Do you have a networking strategy? Are you attending the right networking events-the ones that will help you build relationships and grow your business?
Here are some things you might want to consider to get more out of your networking efforts:
Are you attending the right networking events for your business? Many times we attend a networking event because our friends are going to be there, or because someone told us about it at the last minute and we thought we should attend, or maybe it’s a Chamber event and there’s supposed to be a good turnout.
These may well be good reasons to attend an event, but they may not be the best networking events for your business. The best criteria to use when picking which networking events to spend your precious time on, is figuring out where your ideal clients hang out. Which events do they attend? You don’t want to just randomly attend an event (well, not very often, anyway), and you don’t want to just go where your friends hang out.
You want to ask your ideal clients, the ones you LOVE working with, where they go to network, what groups they belong to and what events do they like to attend. Because “birds of a feather flock together” and by hanging out where your ideal clients network, you are more likely to find other potential ideal clients in the crowd. Those that need your services!
Do you have a networking strategy?
This can mean a couple of things. First, once you’ve found the networking group or groups where your ideal clients hang out, it’s a good idea to get the meetings on your calendar. And make arrangements if you need to, for kid coverage, or work coverage etc. Really plan for the event, because so often I hear people say, “Oh, I really wanted to attend that last night, but I didn’t have a babysitter”. Or, “I had a big work project that got in the way”. I hear this a lot, and not that there aren’t last minute things that come up, they would happen less and less frequently if you had really planned out your strategy.
Another strategy might be connecting with people you want to meet, before the event. Reaching out to them through social media or email to let them know you are attending as well and hope to have the opportunity to meet them. Then when you see them at the event, you can go right up and introduce yourself. This strategy works particularly well at bigger networking events or conferences.
If you are an introvert, think about setting a goal for yourself for each event. Maybe a good strategy is to try and connect with five people and walk away with their business cards. Or another strategy might be, you will find someone to meet and connect with in each of the four corners of the room. Challenge yourself to move around and connect.
Are you connecting with new people or just hanging with your friends? Many years ago, I worked at a large Connecticut newspaper where we were expected to attend a lot of networking events. At each event there were usually at least five or six of us from the newspaper who attended. Our boss would absolutely not allow us to sit, stand or even be near each other in the same room. We were expected to network with people we didn’t know, and forge new relationships and connections. To this day, I still remember his advice and I work hard to briefly say hi to people I already know and try to spend the bulk of my time meeting people I don’t.
If you are interested in learning more about how to create a networking strategy or what to specifically say at networking events to get clients to sign up with you on the spot, or how to get more referrals from friends and family, or you just like to change the way you look at the “dreaded sales call”, then I hope you’ll consider joining me for my ever-popular, 4 week teleclass, “How to Overcome Your Fear of Sales and Get More Clients-NOW!” Click here for all the information.
|Mandy works with talented, high energy self employed professionals and very small businesses who struggle to market their business effectively, stretch their capacity and play a bigger game. Mandy’s client’s receive proven, specific information on what they need to do to get more clients and grow their business. As a result, those who coach with Mandy increase their business, get more clients and make more money, faster and easier than they ever would have on their own. Sign up for her free Cd “7 Productivity Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs” right down below.|