My Hottest Networking Tips!
Networking (for most small business owners and entrepreneurs) is the SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LEAST EXPENSIVE form of 'marketing' that one can do.
Ok, first of all for you 'Savvy Networkers' I suppose you can skip this one - or can you?
I talk to hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs every month and you know what one of their biggest fears are as a whole? How to Network.
This is one of my favorite things to teach actually to my clients. I love helping them get more comfortable with the whole process of networking:
- where to network
- how to network
- what to bring with you networking
- what to say when networking
- how to follow up from networking
- turning networking contacts into clients and referral sources
I do literally love this stuff as most of you know.
Now, if many of you are reading that list above and see that you're not doing one, two or even three aspects of the networking process - you should have a talk with me for sure.
Networking (for most small business owners and entrepreneurs) is the SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LEAST EXPENSIVE form of 'marketing' that one can do (assuming you DO all of the above steps, and do them well).
Here are a few tips I work with my clients on how to prepare for a networking event and what to say while you're there.
In order to get the most out of a networking event, it is best to go in with a goal. Determine what you hope to accomplish by attending that particular event - it might be different for each one. Of course I will or did learn something from each event and at each event I'm going to be open to finding both clients and referral sources but each have certain dynamics that I wanted to take advantage of - always looking out for my opportunities!
If you're new to a group or meeting or if you're really shy then I recommend simply going with a goal of meeting 10 new people and make sure to get their business cards of course too so you can follow up. Another suggestion is to find someone who's been in the group for a while or someone who seems to know everyone (find someone like me) and go up to them and let them know you're new and if they wouldn't mind introducing you to a couple of people - more than likely they will completely take you under their wing and you'll meet everyone in the room!
Remember, networking should be about the other person, not YOU. So, try not to walk up to someone and start talking about yourself. Instead, ASK QUESTIONS about the person you're talking to. This way you seem interested in them and you will build better relationships faster.
Here are some QUESTIONS you can ask to get you started:
1. What is your name?
2. What do you do/what is your business?
3. What kind of people do you want to meet here today?
4. What is your biggest challenge? (Add in a type of challenge if it can relate to your business such as 'what is your biggest marketing challenge?')
5. What is the best way to refer business to you?
6. What problems do you solve for clients?
7. What do you like to do for fun?
8. Who else can I introduce you to here? (Then get their card, pass them off to someone else and go meet someone else too.)
It's ok if the conversation never turns your way as long as you get their card because you can always follow up with them later; giving them your card and more than likely they'll feel bad for not asking about you! Then the idea is that the next time you see them (because you'll be consistently networking in the same circles) you will build on what you learned and more than likely the conversation will turn towards you this time and because you talked about them the first time, they will really listen to you and want to know what you do.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(c) Copyright 2008 K.Sawa Marketing. Katrina Sawa is an Award-Winning Relationship Marketing Coach who's helped hundreds of small business owners take dramatic steps in their businesses to get them to the next level in business, revenues and life. She offers one-on-one coaching, group coaching and do-it-yourself marketing planning products. Go online now to get started with her Free Report and Free Audio at http://www.jumpstartyourmarketing.com