3 Easy Way to Boost Your Business With Networking
Everybody is in agreement that in business, networking plays a determinant factor in your growth and your success. So why do so many people jump from one networking event to another without any results and complain that networking is not working?
Networking is a way of life. It is one of the fastest ways to grow your business and one of the most cost-efficient marketing tools.
Here are 3 easy and low cost ways to maximize your networking results:
1 - Follow-up
Usually, people like big events. They feel great when they enter a room packed with people. Big events are great if your goal is to get a bunch of business cards, but not if you are trying to get business. What do you do with all those cards? Be honest, most people put them on their desk or in a shoe box, eventually enter the information on their rolodex, but dont do anything with them. Why? Because they collected so many that they are overwhelmed and dont know how or where to start.. They just dont have a follow-up system.
Statistics show that we need to hear or see a message at least 7 times in order to notice it. So if you follow up only 2 or 3 times you are losing business. A networking event is a way of introducing yourself and starting a relationship with the people you meet. It is definitely not a place to sell. That is why so many people are confused they missed the point and wanted to sell right away. You may get a client after an event but usually networking takes time, patience and consistency.
That is why it is important not only to have a follow-up system but to have a 7 step follow-up system in place.
Send an email in the next 24 hours.
Send a thank you note (in this age of technology, sending a handwritten thank you note will make you stand out from the crowd).
Send a postcard
Send articles or information related to their industry
Use direct mail
Send a newsletter
And of course, call them
Be creative in order to follow-up and differentiate yourself from others, especially from your competitors. Stand out from the average entrepreneurs. Be unique!
2 Join a networking group. Choose the best format for you.
Personally I prefer small events because I get more business out of it. That is why with Biba4Network most of my events are limited to 15 people. Even if sometimes I organize mixers - where I have 30 to 60 people - as a way of spreading the word and bringing everybody together. But small groups allow you to: start a relationship right away, have the time to really introduce yourself and your business, which is more efficient than speaking with somebody for 3 seconds, giving your card to them and then going on to the next person.
Recently, I attended an event, where there were about 80 people. I thought I was actually joining a more intimate group but it was too late to leave. So I decided that my goal would be to speak with 5 people so that way I would have the time for a real conversation. While I was speaking with somebody, a woman came up to me, interrupted our conversation and said, I just wanted you to have my card. She put her card in my hand and left. She didnt introduce herself, tell me her name or find out who I was or what I did. But apparently her goal was to give out as much business cards as she could during the event. Not only is this attitude very rude but it is also totally useless. However, I thought that maybe she was new to networking and didnt know how it works so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. The next day I sent her an email to follow-up, to get a chance to learn more about her business. Guess what! She never returned my email and of course never called. So what is the purpose? No wonder so many people say that networking is not working.
To achieve better results in networking, join a minimum of two groups and commit to it instead of trying to go to every event and meet people only once. Being committed to a group will help you to build a relationship, learn about people, trust them and then do business with them. When you get to know and trust them you will either work with them directly if you need their products or services, or you will give them referrals because you know that if you send people to them they will be satisfied with the result. And you dont want to be in a position to refer somebody to someone else whose work is bad, as this will have a negative impact on your reputation.
3 Create strategic alliances
Would you rather meet a thousand people, one at a time, or meet a few people who will each introduce you to a thousand. Most people see networking events as a place to get contacts one at a time or make one sale at a time.
Now think about this. What about looking for people who have the same target market as you, but are not your competitors, and offer great complementary products or services to you. So that working with them will be a great opportunity to access their clients or mailing list. You can cross-promote each other, you can organize events together, you can do a mailing campaign together, it is a win/win situation.
Lets say you partner with 2 new entrepreneurs a month and have access to their rolodex. I am not saying that they will sell you their list of clients or prospects, but through them you can get exposure to their clients or prospects. If they have one thousand, two thousand, or even twenty thousand people on their mailing list, instantly, you have access to those thousands of people.
For example, when I mentioned on my Biba4Network newsletter, Biba Recommends the business that I am promoting to get exposure to the two thousand people on my list.
People pay more attention because I am the one who recommended the product or service. The people on my list know me and trust me, so they will check and learn more about this product or service. It is more effective than if you just put out a regular ad. And at the same time the business I am promoting is promoting my products and services on their newsletter and I get exposure too, to thousands of people that I dont even know.
That is what I show in my program The Power of Networking. Instead of looking for one prospect or one client at a time, look for people or businesses you can partner with. Make a list of the businesses who are complementary to yours, to create strategic alliances with. Strategic alliances are one of the fastest ways to grow your business.
When you use networking that way, then you dont need to meet everybody in the room. The only thing you need is to find a couple of potential strategic alliances. Look for quality instead of quantity. That is what happens at my events and all the testimonials of members success stories come from: first, people who commit to attend the monthly meetings, second from people who create partnerships, work together and promote each other. That is how some of my members were able to grow their businesses by 30% in less than 3 months.
Stop wasting your time attending every event and start growing your business with networking, learn more about The Power of Networking. In this 5 step program, you will find everything you need on how to maximize your networking results.
You will learn: how to create an outstanding business card how to polish an elevator pitch which will hook your audience so that people will remember you how to create a 7 step follow-up system to turn more prospects into clients how to use your newsletter to promote your products or services without hard selling how to create strategic alliances to grow our business faster. You can read more about it and get your copy of The Power of Networking at www.biba4netwotk.com/networking.html
(c) 2006 Biba F. Pdron
About the author
Biba F. Pdron is a marketing consultant, founder of Biba4Network, that specializes in networking for small business owners in the greater New York area. Biba helps entrepreneurs to maximize their networking results so that they can grow their businesses faster.
Biba is the author of Start Your Dream Business Today! The Proven 11 Steps to Start and Grow Your Own Business. http://www.startyourdreambusinesstoday.com
For more information or to receive free tips like this one, please visit http://www.biba4network.com