Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But it seems as if small business owners are finally beginning to understand exactly what networking is and how they can use it to increase their clientele.
So what exactly is networking?
The first thing that probably comes to mind is a group of people in a room struggling to get noticed and get their business cards in the hands of the right people.
However, in its most basic form, it’s word-of-mouth promotion but started by you, not your customers. It involves taking just about every single opportunity to elevate awareness of your product or service amongst the people you meet. At a more sophisticated level, networking can be executed by taking advantage of the formal networking groups (like the Network for Women in Business) or events that have been arranged purely with the idea of placing potential partners together, like match-maker events.
So, how can you become a more effective networker?
While it’s important to take advantage of opportunities that present itself for you to get your message in front of your ideal customer. It’s equally important to understand what some of the key strategies, tips and ideas regarding how to be a better networker and how to get the most out of networking events. Here’s how you can be more effective at networking events:
- Have a clear understanding as to why you’re there and what it is you’re looking to gain. In other words have an end-game strategy.
- Know that your business is a solution to someone’s problem. Therefore, it’s imperative for you to know exactly what problem your business is a solution for. What pain does your product or service eases? Having the answers to these questions in advance will help you to easily articulate your position.
- Have a prepared and well-rehearsed answer to the question, “What do you do?” And state the answer to this question in the form of a solution. For example, if someone were to ask me what I do, I would respond by saying something like: “You know how female entrepreneurs struggle to build and sustain successful businesses? Well what I do is provide affordable training as well as online and social media marketing solutions for female entrepreneurs and I also provide a platform for them to connect with other entrepreneurs and potential clients with my Network for Women in Business.”
- Make sure before you arrive at networking events that you’re clear on how to get to the venue and what time the event begins. You don’t want to arrive late.
- Also make sure that you have enough business cards. And make sure that business card has a call to action. For example send people to your website to get a free gift or have a number for them to call to get a free 1:1 consultation.
What are the key advantages of networking?
Networking has real advantages over the traditional marketing:
- For one, it’s free! Talking to another person costs nothing except your time.
- It’s face-to-face marketing unlike direct mail, advertising campaigns and telephone calls. You have the immediate opportunity to establish rapport and obtain an understanding of the person’s problems.
- It provides you with the chance to mingle with entrepreneurs in other industries, which may open the door to fresh opportunities you had not previously considered.
- It’s also an excellent way of getting business advice. Why sweat over a solution when someone has probably already experienced and solved the same problem? Ask and find out who can help you.
Where to find a network?
Finding a place to network, where like-minded business owners are present, just got easier with the Social Network for Women in Business. This platform is FREE when you become a member of the Network for Women in Business. The Social Network is more effective because you can meet people who are there to do the same thing; you can get onto the same page with members that much quicker.
If you have not already done so, check out the Network for Women in Business. Connect with us on Facebook. Become a member and enjoy the benefits and privileges of membership.