You can’t flip the sign on the door from closed to open and expect a flood of customers. Networking is the estranged half-brother of marketing; they go hand in hand. Think about that one kid in school who knew everybody. Whatever you needed, he knew a kid that had done it, knew how to do it, or knew where to get the know-how. That’s networking, only with eventual revenue thrown in the mix. Follow these professional tips, and you’ll have a spider web of contacts.
Genuine Is Good
You didn’t open your own business to be melancholy and sullen, you didn’t do it to funnel magical cash into your pocket with no effort on your part. Whatever your industry is, have a genuine approach to how you’ll deliver your products and services to your customer.
Confidence, Not Arrogance
People love to talk about everything under the sun, including the businesses they go into, and their owners. There’s something that makes you feel like a badass when you know the owner personally, or the owner have helped you with your needs. Furthermore, if you’re confident that the services you’re providing are the best quality you can render, you’ll have a glow about you. People will notice your expertise, and talk. Heck, you might even have requests for advice on how they can be like you.
When anybody sees a brand name sponsoring the local Little League jerseys, or if they’re in the food and beverage business and supplying freebies to a charity even, they remember that. Community-driven acts of selflessness shouldn’t be done to gain mere profit and publicity, but it inevitably does work that way. If you can sponsor a local event, or even just let cheerleaders be outside of your door (they don’t want to be there, either,) you’re assisting the community in some way. After all, locals are your recurring customers, so long as you don’t screw it up. How does this refer to networking? Everybody’s going to want to talk to the man or woman in charge. They come to you with a solid first impression already.
Ask For Business Cards
When you’re meeting other entrepreneurs or small business owners, be certain to ask for a business card at the end of your conversation just before you break off. It lets them know you were listening to them, that you’re interested in their business, and honestly, could make them a return customer of yours. Follow up with them a few days later with an email. Even if you’re industries apart, there’s always a back to scratch.
Rapid Fire Bonus List
- State; don’t overstate.
- Listen; wait for your turn to speak. Timing is everything.
- Short and simple; keep your conversations brief and to the point.
- Mention your brand; it’s not networking if they don’t know who you are. Otherwise you’re just collecting business cards.
On your next networking venture, give this a once over before delving into the lion pit.
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