Networking can be the most cost-effective and efficient strategy for generating leads and gaining new customers or clients…IF you do it right! If you don’t approach networking the right way, it can be a huge waste of time. Read on for 3 networking tips you wish you knew earlier!
Tip #1: Do Your Homework!
There are lots of different ways to network and different types of networking groups. Networking can come in all shapes, sizes, and networking can also be a natural/organic by-product of a reason why people come together. For example, a group of people who join a book club, fundraising organization, or another type of special interest club will meet for a common reason but, may actually end up networking together because of the relationship they built through the group over time. Group examples may be:
- Mastermind groups
- Business solutions groups
- Faith-based organizations or interest groups
- Virtual (online) Networking Groups
Make sure you find the one that will yield you be the best results for your business. The best way to determine which group or style is best for you is to explore and visit the various types of networks available to you in your area.
Tip # 2: Get Involved! (The more you put into networking, the more you will get out of networking)
Networking is not a spectator sport. It’s not enough to show up at a meeting and clock your time. In order for your networking efforts to really pay off, you need to be involved in the organization you belong to. Taking on a small role within the networking organization you join will help you gain exposure, meet more people, and accelerate the networking process. The more people get to know, like and trust you, the easier it becomes for them to refer you and your business out.
Tip #3: Understanding that Networking is all About Relationships and NOT Selling the Room
If more people understood Tip #3, there would be more networking success stories floating around the business world. Too many times people approach networking with a “vending machine mentality.” They put their membership dues into the networking vending machine and expect a whatever “referral/lead flavor” they choose to come spitting out. It takes A LOT more effort than that to make networking work for you. In order for you to get quality leads and referrals out of networking, you need to put quality time into relationship building. That means you need to take the time to attend meetings, set up one-to-one meetings, explore how you can help others within your Chapter, provide quality presentations to your fellow networkers so they know how to refer you, etc. The bottom line, the better your fellow networkers know you and feel comfortable with you, the more business your network will help you generate.
If you are able to get these three tips down, networking becomes a little easier and smoother. You will find that the process seems to fall into place and the “ickiness” people tend to feel when it comes to networking begins to disappear. One final word, the more authentic and genuine your approach to networking is, the better your results will be.
About Keep It Local
Keep It Local is primarily a seat specific networking organization designed to help you meet and gain exposure to people who can help you build your business through leads and referrals. Learn more about Keep It Local and the various chapters available, click HERE.