Networking is a great way to meet people within a non-selling environment. Just be your friendly self and relax. Have fun and get to know the people you are with.
Here are a few things you can do when you are networking:
1. Set a time each week to network. Pick specific meetings and events that you think your typical clientele would be attending. Make this a regular part of your business schedule. By attending these networking events your face will become familiar and will show more credibility.
2. If you are new to networking then an easy way to start is the local Chamber of Commerce (COC). Go as a guest and see if this is the right crow for your product or service. Some COC's are very strong and have a heavy involvement in the business community. This will give you a chance to check them out. In addition the COC are always looking for speakers so dust off your microphone and provide the members with some material to help them grow their business.
3. Before you attend an event, understand why you are going. Remember no hard sell here. Bring with you the knowledge that you can help others. Do not rush. Your goal is to get the other person's business card. Of course if they ask you for yours give it to them.
4. By focusing your attention of THEM you will learn what is important to them. Maybe their business is struggling and you have a solution to a particular problem. By asking the right questions you can find the pain or fears that a business owner might have. The more questions you ask the better you can hone your skills that will bare fruit.
5. You must make at least a mental note of something significant your potential client has said. When you have a chance jot down this information. This could be an upcoming event, birthday, graduation etc. now these become icebreakers the next time you communicate with them.
6. You will find very few people that will network the way we are discussing. When you are asked go ahead and give your best "30 second commercial". Then stop and see what kind of reactions you will get. You're there to gather information and to meet people, period.
7. People love people who are interested in them. Ask questions and then listen. Rinse and repeat. Your goal is to get these folks engaged in conversation, build rapport and determine quickly if they are you target market.
8. Offer a referral. The best way to start a relationship is by giving someone something that can help him or her. In doing so you are setting up the expectation they will give you a reciprocal referral. Not always, but you have a better chance of getting a referral.
Networking is a great way to build long lasting relationships. Remember people do business with people they like. If you network every chance you have you will have a steady stream of new clients.
I challenge you to meet one new person everyday and by the end of the month you would meet and talked to 28 – 31 new prospective clients!
It is a numbers game … getting more customers is easy when you put yourself out there and give back to the business community.