Networking is a great way to grow your business and separate yourself from your competition. We talk a lot on this blog about finding ways to differentiate yourself and your company. Today I’m going to share four POWER TIPS for networking that you should systematically put into action.
What does that mean? It means don’t look at list and get overwhelmed. Do one at a time and add another each month or as you can in order to grow your business.
-Find other businesses that serve your customer: Who else does business with your customer or the people you would like to be your customer? Think of it this way: where does your client go before and/or after they purchase from you? Do they take your product and have it altered of have to add something to it? If so, network with those salespeople or businesses to get your name out there. Think. Be creative. One of the greatest examples I ever heard was of a gentlemen that sold fairly high end cowboy boots—he made sure the guys that sold horse trailers in his market were always decked out in the latest fashion. Brilliant!
-Schedule a minimum of one networking event per month: From Chamber of Commerce mixers to more formal meetings of referral organizations, get out and be seen. Spend time letting people know who you are and where you work. You CAN network one person at a time—or you can attend events like this and meet lots of people.
-Host an event at your place of businesses: What can you do to help your past clients and future clients? If you’re in the car business, how about taking a Saturday afternoon to show ladies how to check their oil or basics of changing a flat in case they are in an emergency situation? If you sell real estate, have you worked with interior decorators to help homeowners stretch their dollars in outfitting their new house? Once again, be creative. If you sell boats there are generally two uses: recreation and fishing. What can you do to build value for those two categories?
-Join a networking organization: There is probably an organization in your town where likeminded people meet and trade information. These are usually very formal and are luncheons held once a month. Again, be involved in YOUR community. Let people see YOU. Give it time to work and bring plenty of business cards!
There you are: Four tips that will drastically increase your business—if you use them.
Here’s a bonus for you and perhaps the most important tip of all: Be a Referrer. Take every opportunity you can to refer business to others. Remember those people that do business with your customers before or after you? Refer your customers to them. If you start by GIVING—you will get in return.