NETWORKING or going to the dentist!
I’m noticing a lot of people attending more “networking’ events for 2016. The idea of networking can sometimes be as pleasurable as the thought of going to the dentist. We feel nervous, out of our comfort zone and the unknown outcome is not a welcoming thought. Having said that we also know that there are proven benefits in attending network events which is simply – “People buy people”.
To get the most out of these types of events you need to remember that there is more to networking than sales pitches, awkward conversations, plastic smiles and a handful of business cards that will just sit on your desk until you ‘have time’ to do anything with them.
A good networking event will offer you a mixture of ideas, resources, information and the potential for new clients, business partnerships or links to other networks.
If you think networking is not your ‘thing’, you more than likely won’t achieve the same level of success as if your thoughts were open and positive about the results of future success for you and your business.
Creating trust through networking gives you direct contact with people, it can be more successful than other marketing strategies. People are more likely to buy from you if they like you! Have a plan for your new relationships. Let them know how you are going to contact them now and how are you going to stay in contact with them in the future.
There are key elements to successful networking, it is about being proactive with a plan for your networking and staying focused and committed to that plan. The reward for your valuable time invested is that you will discover avenues of opportunity that will be a positive investment in the growth of your business.
Once you are focused on your networking plan and you’ve attended a successful networking event and created some great relationships… What now?
We have some great tools available to us today, like Google. Research the contacts you have met – people are interesting if you take the time to discover their background. Another novel way is to ask your new friend what they thought of the event, whether they attend other great events, give them a call and see if they want to catch up for a coffee (and make the time for the catch up while on the phone).
It would not be out of the question to have a network event for your customers. The stronger your customers business, the stronger your business and you create great links between like-minded business people who are expanding their business also. An added bonus is that your customers feel a stronger sense of loyalty to keep doing business with you.
So there we have it! Plan, structure, commitment to the plan, mindset, follow up and continually putting yourself in front of people. Easy!!!