Make Your Business Thrive: Network!
Ann Evanston | Monster Small Business
Smart entrepreneurs network. They understand that networking is a key marketing component to their business success. But are they doing it right? Are they attracting more business? Have they learned to use techniques that accelerate networking success? Find out if you have, as an entrepreneur, with these tips:
1. Be prepared for every networking event.
Don’t just show up and “see what happens.” You’ll probably end up frustrated because you will leave feeling like it was a waste of time or it wasn’t what you expected. Think about why you’re going and who you want to meet. Know and understand the group’s networking protocol as well. Find out if you are allowed to hand out brochures and flyers or samples. Knowing that and participating accordingly will help you accelerate success.
2. Stop asking for more clients or customers.
This is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs often make. We all need more clients and ultimately that’s why we go and network! Get more creative and innovative in what you ask for or offer when you network. While networking, you may ask questions like: “Can you tell us about your strategic partners?” or “Are your resources available?” You too can share your contacts with people who might need them. Being able to show interest in others and what they need or who they need to meet will greatly increase your credibility.
3. Think about how you can give, not just get.
Be willing to ask others: “What do you need?” Or, “Who can I connect you with?” When you help others, you create greater connection. And, connection increases your business opportunities.
4. Follow up.
This is the most important step in your marketing plan and yes, networking is marketing. You must have a reputation as a person who follows up. When you tell someone that you will do something at a networking event and do not follow up, you send a very clear message about your reputation and, even more damaging, about how you treat your customers! There is power in connecting with people after a networking event! It’s impressive when you follow through, and you are more likely to be remembered! I want you to pick three people who you’ll call and at least leave a voice mail message, and email the rest.
When you do these things as part of your networking marketing plan, you will find that your business will thrive, not just survive!