First, we want to acknowledge that walking up to a perfect stranger and selling the idea of your business isn’t easy. Not everyone will be happy to see you and you need to be willing to expect and accept some rejection. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel, and when it starts to pay off and your calendar starts filling up, you’ll be plenty glad that you went for it!
Networking is a marathon, not a sprint.
People need to get to know and trust you before they will use your business or refer you to others. Show up consistently and you will be rewarded!
“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.” – Diane Hilbig
THE FOLLOWING NETWORKING TIPS WILL COME IN HANDY:
Always set goals. Goals can be small; schedule 3 one-on-one meetings or get 10 email addresses, but always start your day with a purpose. This helps you hold yourself accountable and helps you track your improved networking skills!
Show genuine interest in other businesses. Be prepared with a list of questions to find out what their problem points are so you can craft the best message to address their needs. When you ask questions of other businesses, it shows you are interested in them and want to learn from them as well.
Give a little, get a little. Build allies and refer business to other members and they will be much more likely to return the favor.
Take notes. Promptly after a meeting, make note of who you spoke with, their position, any other names that were mentioned, personal information, and any interesting anecdotes they may have mentioned. These notes will be invaluable when you draft a follow up email and for future meetings.
Follow up! Never leave an office after a first meeting without setting up a one on one meeting for the near future.
Always wear branded clothing. This is free advertising that invites the question, “What is ___”?” You may be surprised by how much business can come from just walking around and showing off your company name.
No matter who you are meeting with, always be sure to travel with the following items:
• Business cards – always keep in your wallet and car.
• Brochures – keep some extra marketing folders and brochures specific to target industries available for that unexpected encounter with a potential referral partner.
• Giveaways – whether it’s sunglasses, pens, or magnets, branded items make a lasting impression; more so than business cards, and are visual reminders to use our service.
• A good attitude and a smile! – You are the face of your business. Impress everyone you meet with your cheery demeanor and your passion for the business, the environment, and your community.