Can you grow a business by networking? Hell yes!!!
When I started out as a Virtual Assistant back in 2007, I had no idea how I was going to get clients, then someone recommended that I should try business networking – and ten years later, it’s about the only consistent marketing I have done!
There are many tricks to making business networking work for the small and micro businesses and I would like to share a few.
Firstly I believe you need to work on the assumption that no-one in the room wants to buy from you. Once you start to think like this, you stop selling to the room and appearing desperate! Just help people, get to know them, like them and trust them – they need to do the same with you. It’s all about building relationships.
Secondly, I believe you need to make a list of the connections you want to make – at least ten of them, and these need to be specific people and companies. Once you have made the list – show it to people! Remember it’s no good if you hide it in a secure drawer in your office! Personally, I photograph the list so it is always available on my phone. Most people in networking want to help others, this becomes difficult if they have got to try and work out who you might want as clients, providing a list really makes it simple for others to help you.
Thirdly try and get involved in the network, take on a team role – one that really showcases you. If you hate admin, don’t take on an admin role! If you are great at energising a room, consider taking on the role of running the meeting. becoming a team player really does grow your visibility, if you are great at it, it will also grow your credibility. Many years ago I was told that:
Visibility + Credibility = Profitability
Finally, always be prepared. So often I attend meetings where it is obvious that people have not prepared their pitch, they turn up without business cards and no idea what they are going to say. When asked, the same people always admit that if they were going to see a potential client, they would prepare fully. With networking you never know who might become a potential client, or know someone that could be your dream referral, so make sure you are prepared before you enter the room.
If you need any support in making networking work for you, please get in touch, we have certainly grown our business by networking. Remember above all else – enjoy it!