Did you start your business to be a great success and then find that maybe this business takes WORK? How did you decide you would get the WORD OUT about why your product or service is just what the public is waiting for? Many of us have chosen to travel the Networking route … but HOW do we do this? What if your path takes you to local Chambers of Commerce? What if your path takes you to smaller groups and organizations? The technique you select may depend upon the event OR your skill level in the Networking arena.
What is your plan as you embark upon the complex, yet simplistic, world of effective Networking? Please know that we DO need a plan!
Do you think you will sell your product or service each time you attend a meeting? I have noticed over these 8 years of full time Networking that many people THINK that Networking is a quick way to SELL to the people that they meet…so if that does not WORK, they deduce that NETWORKING does NOT work !!!
Let’s examine what occurs at a Networking event. My most powerful example is the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, located in Olathe, Kansas. This Chamber is 5-Star Accredited, which accounts for only ONE PERCENT of the Chambers across the country…QUITE a designation…so what does the Olathe Chamber of Commerce offer to members and guests?
You are invited to attend a WEEKLY coffee, held at a different Olathe business location. This hour-long opportunity gives the Networkers a chance to meet and mingle. If you KNOW no one, you have the world at your fingertips. This group has been a local EXAMPLE of what a Networking event SHOULD be.
You have collected – and given out – several business cards during this meeting, so NOW the time has come for the follow-up! Did you know that THIS is the most effective piece of the Networking puzzle and VERY FEW people DO follow up correctly?
Give the person on the card a phone call, or at the very least, an email message, stating that you were glad to meet him/her and you would love to learn more about their company and what they do there. NOW comes your invitation for coffee, and always book for the next week or so, NOT an immediate date and time.
Once the 1:1 occurs, you get a chance to REALLY Network, which simply means TALK and get to know each other better. This ‘talk’ will give you have the opportunity to decide if you will be referral partners, friends, or merely Networking acquaintances.
You can see by this example that expectations may be the worst thing we can do to ourselves when it comes to entering the vastness of Networking. Do yourself a major favor and go to at least one new event/group a month to see which type of organization is a good fit for your own personal Networking ‘style’!
Some people are naturally comfortable in a small setting while others thrive in a LARGE venue with hundreds of people. I suggest if you are NEW to Networking, go to the largest event you can find…that way you can ‘blend in’ or ‘hide out’ and watch the ‘king pins’ work the room. In a smaller room, you are REQUIRED to speak. Many people do the exact opposite and hang out in small comfort zones, where their business never really grows.
We talk about Networking all the time, and we must know that Networking means TALKING! To that end, there are as many techniques and tips as there are people on this planet. ANY Networking group ‘works’ if you ‘work’ the group effectively. Relationship building is the key to businesses thriving, and I truly wish YOU all the Networking success in this World!