As a business owner, you probably have a website, a business Facebook page, maybe a blog, an e-mail marketing newsletter, a twitter account, you’re linked in to LinkedIn, and maybe you’re even posting things on the newest social media craze. You’re doing everything possible to get your message out to increase awareness, and obtain that all important client, customer, or patient.
But, are you ready for this? Even the leading social media gurus confirm that they get 60% of their clientele as a result of face-to-face contact and the relationships they’ve built over time. Go figure!
This only stresses the importance of what this month’s business tip is all about. Networking.
Before I go any further, I have to admit something. I seriously dislike with great passion (that’s my phrase for the word ‘hate’) the term “networking.” Not that networking isn’t important or necessary but because the majority of us truly do not know how to do it right nor do we understand the true purpose of doing it!
Networking isn’t about going out and promoting yourself. It isn’t about collecting or passing out hundreds of business cards. It isn’t selling and telling people what you do, how you do it, and how much they need you. It’s truly about planting seeds that will, over time, grow strong supportive business relationships with those you meet and get to know
As in any relationship building effort, it takes a lot of time and work to do it right. They don’t call it
“Net-Working” for nothing! It is your business’s relationship building effort to build that supportive ‘net’ that ‘works’. It’s the perfect foundational effort that makes the cliché, “People do business with people they know, they like, and they trust.” come to life.
So, here’s my tip of the month:
Change your mindset! Networking isn’t a “Get-Get-Get” hustle. It’s a “Give-Give-Give” activity.
Being ready to go “network” doesn’t mean being ready to go tell everyone about your business while you sell, sell, sell and distribute (and collect) 100’s business cards. It means being ready to help and committed to give of yourself as the expert. It means being prepared to go establish great business relationships with those you meet.
Go meet people. Ask questions that identify “who” they are. Gather personal and professional information that identifies some of their interests and needs. Commit to freely assist them in some way…send them information…an article regarding something of interest they’ve discussed with you, a business tip to implement, a perfect place to vacation…give them something that will benefit them while it shows your expertise in what you do and that you care. Exchange business cards “on purpose with purpose!” In the end and over time, a potentially good business relationship can be developed and serve to nurture both parties involved.
As I said, they don’t call it “Net-Working” for nothing! Keep that website current, post those blogs and Facebook entries, tweet your heart out, and get prepared to Net-Work
the next time you go to network!