So now you have a business and you are ready to sell! Really?
Well, maybe…. let’s see what you think.
You’ve got your brand new business cards hot off the press from the printers. Well you have, haven’t you?
OK, perhaps you’re still waiting for them, but you have got a handy notebook and pen at the ready??
Never go anywhere without your business cards; for women that includes supermarket, hairdressers, dentist, school gates, etc…. These are your informal networking opportunities.
But we’re looking at formal networking for the moment, ie pre-arranged, professionally organised networking opportunities.
Why would you want to book into something like that?
Word of mouth referral is responsible for 70% of business taking place! That is 70% of business activity is down to people who get to know you and like you, whether or not they have bought your products or used your services, they feel comfortable in recommending or referring you.
So that would seem a pretty fool-proof and economical way to grow your business; to make money.
Yes, but it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and effort – by you!
Effective and successful networking isn’t just about “the money”.
It’s about learning from your peers, sharing experiences and support. Which in turn all add to your well-being and that of your business!
If you are going to be successful in business, face-to-face networking is an essential part of your business’s marketing strategy.
So here are the Rules to make networking work for you:-
✓ Networking is about developing trust and relationships over time – so you need to attend regularly
✓ Be prepared to give and help others – what you give will come back three-fold – see where you can make connections for others
✓ Show a genuine interest in people and really listen – you never know who they know!
✓ Always follow up contacts, by phone or email
✓ Arrange 1:1s – to find out more about each other and business opportunities
so always take your diary, whether paper or electronic, with you
✓ Invite business contacts to experience a networking meeting – spreading the word extends opportunities for everyone
✓ Circulate – don’t stay in your comfort zone
✓ Be prepared – have plenty of business cards, perhaps an A5 flyer, and certainly have a 1 minute talk (let me know if you’d like a copy of the 1230 TWC 1 Minute guide)
✓ Treat your network like gold – don’t abuse your contacts
“Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement” anon
Networking is not about selling, it’s about building the relationship. Follow the above rules consistently and it will work for you.
I would love to hear from you about your networking experiences and please share your own networking tips.
Jackie Groundsell: Founder of 1230 The Women’s Company Ltd – leading UK network for business women, providing opportunities for business and career women to meet locally in the Business High Street, share experiences and work together to grow their businesses through regular vibrant, buzzy meetings.