It is truly amazing just how many new clients are introduced to your business by the networking process. Networking is a major method of expanding your clientele base that must not be ignored. New opportunities, increased sales, and other accomplishments occur through establishing new contacts.
Become acquainted with a number of business contacts. This requires being comfortable making introductions, meeting new people, and putting yourself out there for the public. Importantly, networking is free. It can require absolutely no money, but has the potential to earn your business a great deal of money.
Are there ways to go about networking that might benefit you more than other ways? Sure. The types of meetings that you attend and the groups that you decide to join play a role in who you link up with. Belonging to associations that your fellow associates are members of is mandatory in some situations for professional development, but what about the organizations that your potential clients participate in? Joining those group could mean the difference in having such people become your longstanding, loyal patrons.
If you are not used to attending meetings, this might be a new learning experience for you. Whatever your business, there are some that exist in your area that would benefit you. Consider city council meetings, chamber of commerce functions, young business professionals’ meetings, and green business events- (these are popping up everywhere). Newspapers, public libraries, and the Internet publish such information regularly.
Before you attend a networking event, plan a few important tasks. Plan your self-introduction speech. Make it brief and simple, but effective enough to accurately explain what you do and who you are. And, always, bring a stockpile of business cards to distribute to all you come in contact with. Keep them in your pockets, in your briefcase, purse, and wallet.
You may not know immediately whether or not one specific group is beneficial for you to attend. Consider attending approximately 5 meetings before you make a decision concerning this. Networking takes time, and meeting the right people is not an overnight process. Like advertisements that we see as consumers, people may need to see your face a few times before recognizing you and making the connection.
When you do find an organization that feels right for you, do more than simply attend the meetings. Over time, become an active member, one who volunteers, holds offices, and participates often in the overall group.
Evaluate your approach when entering such meetings. You will be more warmly received if you are also open to listening to others’ introductions and hearing their background. Other persons may have products and services that you or your friends and family might be in need of. Besides the element of respect and reciprocity with regard to making contacts, hear what others have to say for your own needs. After all, that is what networking is all about- sharing, listening, and learning about new resources.
In the groups that you choose to join, there may be opportunities to highlight a certain business or key player. Similarly, groups often welcome a special introduction for newcomers. Others may randomly draw business cards for a weekly award, whereby the winner gets also to say a few words about their work. Some organizations do sponsorship. This means that the rotating sponsors plan snacks, bring their own promotional products as gifts, and give a briefing of their business.
Sponsoring an organization’s meeting can greatly promote your company and increase your networking possibilities. Individuals and other companies are finding out about you, receiving promotional items like pens, pads of paper, flashlights, or tote bags. Recipients take these materials home, use them, share them, and pass them on. People who you may not have personally met are noting your advertising, asking questions about your work, and will contact you for more information. Hence, the networking process has numerous implications.
Networking will begin to pay off for you. Contacts will evolve into clients, and customers will be sent your way via these established patrons. Remember, though, it is necessary for you to show gratitude. So many people today overlook this step. We are busier than ever before and have more on our daily lists than we can complete. Even so, a thank you gesture demonstrating your appreciation is still valued. And, it can mean the difference in other clients being sent your way in the near future. Notes, promotional items, free products and services are all ways to express your thanks.
It’s never too late to get involved and meet new people. Networking can work for you. What do you have to lose?