Networking tips for 2019
If you are a business owner, the likelihood is that you’ve been to a networking event. The size is different between each group. I’ve been a member of chambers where our events had hundreds of people, and also groups that had under 20 people at their large events. Here’s the thing, size doesn’t matter. What matters is, that you pick the right networking group!
When it comes to networking tips, I’ve heard it all. It doesn’t work! My chamber sucks or I got tons of business from it and this is how I built up my business. We often tend to give up easily if things don’t work out quickly. Even more so if we are introverts. My fellow introverts know the enormous amount of effort it takes us to go to large networking events and to be social. Just thinking about it, gives me a pit in my stomach. Yet, I recommend offline networking to most of my clients. It is a great way to build up your business, especially if you are a new business owner.
Purpose of networking
Businesses that build faster than average are normally well connected. My second business built faster than my first business as I had all those relationships to dip into. The whole purpose of networking is to build relationships, not sales. I want you to repeat this, the purpose of networking is to build relationships. You should never go into a meeting expecting to come home with a client. People hate being sold to, and it can get you blacklisted very fast if you are known as the person who only cares about their own business. Focus on building relationships, and then the trick is, to keep up those relationships. If someone needs your service 2 months down the road, you need to make sure they still remember you when the topic comes up. Let’s get those those networking tips!
Tip #1 – Find the right networking group
Find a networking group what directly benefits you. What that means is that the group either has your clientele in it, or it has power partners. Networking takes a lot of your time, so you want to make sure you aren’t wasting your time. Shop around before you commit. Most chambers and other networking chapters will let you visit for free a few times before you make a decision.
Tip #2 – Join a leads group
Join more intimate groups such as leads groups. One of the best parts of networking is when you are part of a smaller groups. Most chambers offer leads groups that meet a few times a month and each group only have one person within each profession. That way you don’t end up with a group full of realtors. It is much easier to build a relationship with people you meet on a regular basis than someone you’ve meet once at a large event.
Tip #3 – Master your elevator pitch
Master your elevator pitch. When someone asks you what you do, you need to be crystal clear. If you are a lawyer, mention what type of lawyer. If you are a coach, mention what type of coach and for whom you are. Think of your tagline as your elevator pitch. Don’t let people drag it out of you what you do, be intriguing.
Tip #4 – Be consistent
Once you have joined a networking group, make a commitment to go to as many events as fits within your schedule. Consistency is key here as you are working the community. You want to make sure your name is known.
Tip #5 – Be selective
Be selective. It is easy to try to connect with as many as you can when you go to large events. I made this mistake when I first started to network. As a default you will speak with a lot of people. There are going to be those that either are a poor fit or are only talking about themselves or trying to sell to you. Make those conversations short and move on.
Tip #6 – Show authentic interest in others
Be interested in others. When you talk to someone at an event, make sure to ask about them and learn about what they do. People that only talk about themselves or try to pitch their sales to as many people as they can never get anywhere. Those that show genuine interest in others and try to come up with ways to help other business owners, are the ones who find longevity in business.
Tip #7 – Follow up
Follow up. If you made a good connection with someone at an event, follow up and schedule a one on one. You can either meet in person or through video calls. More people are opting for at home video option as we are very busy, and we don’t have to spend time driving. But as mentioned in the previous tip, be selective. Did you find someone who can be a power partner, someone who shares the same or similar client base? Don’t meet up with every single person you connect with. If you do, you will never have time to do anything else.
Tip #8 – Be the speaker
Offer to be a speaker or the presenter. When you are the speaker, you get an opportunity to educate others about what it is that you do. It helps people to get to know you, connect with you and it often motivates people to recommend you as they feel confident that you will do a good job. People typically don’t recommend someone that can reflect badly on them. Having authority and trust makes them more likely to connect you with a potential client or a power partner.
Tip #9 – Connect on social media
Connect on social media. When I receive a business card, I sit down the day after and connect with that person on social media. I normally have to go to their website and then follow the links from there. Then I engage with them on social media to keep up the relationship.
Tip #10 – Be easily found
Make your social media links easily accessible. A lot of people are using the above tip. Some will connect with your personal profile, while others will connect on Linked-in, and yet others will connect with you on whatever platform you list on your website. Very few will go through extraordinary measures to connect with you. Make it easy.
Tip #11 – Keep up a content schedule
Keep an active social media platform. If your most active platform is Facebook, then list it on your business card and your website. People will like your page and when they see how active you are and all the great content you are coming out with, you are more likely to get a good connection and often, a new follower.
Tip #12 – Be genuine and helpful
This tip is the most important one. Be genuine and helpful. Always ask what you can do for them. Whenever you can, recommend them, find leads and work on connecting people. Word of mouth is incredible powerful today as people don’t trust brands, they trust recommendation from real people. You are a real person not a brand, and if you recommend someone, your words weight heavy. Be a visible part of the community.
Tip #13 – Be an online voice
If the networking group has a Facebook group, join it and be active in it. Don’t pitch your stuff, be helpful. Give back, give a shout out to someone, ask for recommendation if you are looking for a business. As an example, I’m a member of a great women’s networking group in my area, and when I was looking for a ukulele instructor for my daughter, the group was the first place I asked as I wanted to keep my business within the group.
Tip #14 – Tips for introverts
If you are an introvert, seek smaller groups. Us introverts tend to function better in a more intimate environment. We can’t do constant one on one where we really shine, but we can limit the amount of people we meet. I am an introvert and the best networking group I’ve joined is a small one. I’ve made great connections and built great relationships from it. I have also been a member of a large chamber with a few hundred people at each event, and the emotional drain to go to these events became too much.
Tip #15 – Tips for extroverts
If you are an extrovert connect with an introvert and be their social leader. Help them connect with others, introduce them and help those conversations to get started. I can tell you from experience, that you will have made a friend for life. A friend who will walk through fire for you and will be your business biggest advocate. Introverts do very well as entrepreneurs and are great at making good one on one connections, so don’t discount that group.
Too many business owners are forgetting to add in the social media aspect into the networking world. If you have a strong social media presence that you can extend into the offline world, you are building a much better relationship.
When I go to events, I get quite a few business cards. Then the question always remains, what to do with them? Do I collect them, put notes on the cards to try to remember who is who, or should I take the easy route and connect with them on social media, and continue the relationship there?
Part of my marketing strategy is offline networking, and not only that, but also to meet up with x amount for one on one. It’s a slow but extremely beneficial method as everything is about connections and relationships.
It is essential to keep up a great online content schedule today as this is where people will find you and keep up a relationship with you. If you want to learn more on how to easily come up with content for social media that reaches your ideal client, then click here to download the free guide!
I hope you enjoyed these networking tips, if you did, let’s connect on Linked-in!