Networking. You either have a love or hate relationship with it, right?
Consider this. If you attend a networking event with 100 people:
- 3 people are ready to buy what you’re selling
- 7 people might be ready to buy
- 30 people don’t think they’re ready to buy
- 30 people don’t know if they’re ready to buy
- 30 people know they are not interested
Ugh. Seriously, with odds like that, why bother?
Networking is a critical part of your business’ success. It helps expand your knowledge about the trends that are happening in your industry as well as your community, it connects you with thought leaders you can learn from, it gives you an opportunity to tell others about your business, and it can be a way to gain new clients.
But, getting new clients should not be your only reason for networking.
Here are 6 ways to use networking to your advantage:
- Scope it out. Find out what types of businesses will be at the event and decide if it’s a good fit for what you do.
- Serve, don’t sell. When you meet an interesting prospect, think “How can I help them?” not “What can I sell them?”
- Think strategically. Try and align yourself with people who already reach your ideal client. Perhaps you offer something they don’t that would be of value to their clients. For example, say you’re in banking. Perhaps you could connect with a realtor and become their preferred provider of mortgages or home equity loans.
- Think collaboratively. Team up with businesses that reach your ideal client and offer a workshop together. The banker and realtor could do one on being a first-time homebuyer.
- Get into groups. Social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn offer groups in just about every industry. Listen to what others are saying and offer solutions, or ask for advice on an issue you’re dealing with. In the group environment, it’s a lot easier to get known and noticed than just by posting and interacting on your page.
- Continue the conversation. When you meet someone promising at an event, make sure you follow up with them. Connect on social media, add them to your email list (but please ask their permission first! ), offer to meet for lunch or coffee and see how you can help eachother.
Networking is a two way street. Make it work for you and you’ll reap the rewards long-term.
I’d love to hear what other networking ideas have worked for you. Please share them in the comments.
Thank you for sharing this space with me!