13 Networking Secrets

Apr 26 06:56 2008 Katrina Sawa Print This Article

13 Networking secrets that will help you build your referral list and client list.

This article is written especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners and anyone who needs to meet a lot of people and build relationships in order to promote and increase their business.

I built my marketing consulting business through extensive networking and here are My 13 Networking Secrets to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck and Time....

1. Research Events

Make sure to research the networking events you want to attend before you attend them so you don't waste your time at events or meetings that may not have your target market readily available at them. To find local events in your area,Guest Posting first find all of your area chambers of commerce, there might be many of them and any specialty associations or organizations that would pertain to your business or target market. Then locate all of your area large venues, meeting rooms, convention centers, concert halls and anywhere an event could be held more than likely they will have a website with an events calendar. Finally, read and go online to look up events in your local newspaper on their business calendar or in the main section, inside business publications and social magazines (plus watch TV and listen to radio shows who will promote events these usually get promoted really close to the event however to plan).

2. Be Prepared

Now that you know where to network, make sure you are prepared for the event. Order yourself a name badge that you can wear to all events and even out running errands you never know where you'll meet a potential client! It is important of course to also make sure to use your logo, company colors and a good, descriptive title under your name on your badge for branding as well as it adds credibility and professionalism.

3. Keep Materials On Hand

Make sure to always keep any of your sales flyers, brochures and business cards in your car at all times, keeping them current and never running out; you never know when you will be able to display or hand them out at an event or meeting.

4. Your Commercial

Practice your 10 sec, 30 sec and 60 sec commercials because most events and meetings will ask for different lengths of commercials if you get a chance to stand up and tell who you are and what you do. The 10 sec commercial is for casual one-on-one conversation or a quick introduction typically and the 30 or 60 second ones are for stand up opportunities. Stick to your name, your business name, and a one sentence description about what you do and/or a question to make people think. Then make sure you mention your website and some sort of call to action.

5. Timing

Always arrive at meetings and events a few minutes early and be prepared to stay late and meet those people you don't know yet, meet and get to know EVERYONE! Also, you should attend a function for the networking purposes (that's why it's important to research which events), not for a specific speaker (unless you are going purely for self-improvement); if the speaker turns out to be good then that's a bonus! It's tempting to hang out with the same people however you want to continually look out for those you don't know and go up and introduce yourself to them.

6. Go with a Goal

If you are at all shy or afraid of going to an event by yourself or networking in a group of strangers you will want to go with a goal. First of all, know the types of people you want to meet; do you want to meet prospects who are your target market, referral sources or just friends? Say you want to meet 10 people then make sure you introduce yourself to and ask for 10 people's business cards.

7. First Impressions

Making a good first impression is important and it's the one thing you can't make up for if it goes wrong. Practice your handshake and eye contact prior to attending events to make sure you have a firm handshake, not limp or half grasp and that you are consistently looking into the eyes of the person you are talking to rather than looking around the room for the next person to talk to. For the best results, act like you are really interested in each person you talk to, asking pertinent questions to get to know them better and steer the conversation so you can ease away quickly while still showing you are interested.

8. Card Passing No No

Never "lead" with a card when you enter a room or circle of people, "leave" the card or wait until someone asks you for your card. Don't presume everyone wants your card. If they don't want it, they won't do anything with it anyways so why waste it on them? It's more important for you to get their card because you want to build your database, email marketing list and you want to be able to follow up with them. You can always mail them your card later if you have theirs; they will appreciate it more and possibly think more highly of you since you took the time to follow up.

9. Build Relationships

Your goal of networking should be to build rapport and long-lasting relationships with the people that you meet, it should not be to SELL, SELL, SELL; that's a big turnoff. Don't expect people to use your services the first time they meet you; if they do, great, but don't depend on it. More than likely it will take 5-7 meetings before people will warm up to you so be prepared to network in certain organizations you choose for some time, try each of them for at least 6-12 months or one year of membership. Remember however, you will get out of a membership what you put into it so if you are not active or don't attend a lot of functions, you won't meet enough people in order to reach your desired 'expert' status or 'top of mind awareness'.

10. Help Others

Another main reason for your networking should be to give; give referrals to others you meet, give free 'expert' advice about what you know, give suggestions on business or practices, make connections between people who need to do business with one another, even if that doesn't involve you or your business. If you make this the main reason for networking, karma will reward you with more than enough referrals and direct business that you could ever expect.

11. Don't 'Feature Dump'

'Feature Dumping' occurs when you're talking to people and you proceed to list all your services, benefits, features and everything about you and your business when maybe no one even asked you. You ideally want to find out what the other person wants and needs by asking questions and getting them to tell you. Their needs and wants might have something to do with your business or they might not. If they need your services or products, then of course after you LISTEN to what they need, you can respond with the solution to that need (NOT EVERYTHING, just that need).

12. Take Notes

When you ask for someone's business card and talk to them briefly, remember something unique about them or your conversation or something you need to follow up with them about and write a note on the back of their card. You can do this right then and there or wait until you get to your car. I also suggest writing on the back bottom of each card where you met them, use an acronym if need be. This is good for sorting in your database by group, organization or event for follow up letters, etc.

13. Follow Up

This is the most critical part of any networking NO MATTER WHAT! If you aren't doing your follow up, you've wasted your time and money attending the event. Follow up on every person within 48 hours. Call the hot prospects and email or mail them info about how you can help them (assuming they told you what they need/want from you). Call, email and/or drop a note to the warm prospects or referral sources and email or drop a note to the colder ones or those who you aren't sure about yet.

If you have an email newsletter, be very careful NOT to just add anyone you meet networking to your list; they need to opt in either in person when you meet them (you can write a note about adding them to your email on the back of their card) or you can send them a follow up email telling them about your newsletter and offer to sign them up or respond if they want to sign up for it.

I hope these tips have helped you now GET OUT NETWORKING!

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About Article Author

Katrina Sawa
Katrina Sawa

(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://jumpstartyourmarketing.com !

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