One of the strategies that I experimented with to gain a marketing edge is connecting and engaging with entrepreneurs on LinkedIn. Getting involved in the networking groups is where the potential clients in my niche market are hanging out. This process landed me a few leads, and a couple of clients, one of which I have developed a long term relationship. Taking the idea a step farther I decided to attend a local networking event.
As a business owner that had been lurking behind my keyboard for years, I soon came to the realization that if I wanted my business to grow I needed to come out from behind my computer screen and do more networking even if it meant being found out. Networking is about establishing connections that are mutual and beneficial in the growing of your business, I knew this but was not using this information to grow my business. Let’s face it, we live in a time of sharing information and that is the benefit of being a part of a network.
I have put together 7 Tips For Entrepreneurs Who Get Overwhelmed with the thought of Networking at Events. You know them, they hang out in corners at the local events.
1. Be True To You:
This simply means don’t try to be someone else, be true to you. You will need to know your potential in order to be present, otherwise going to a networking event will be useless for you. Besides, you are the best person to represent you, no one else qualifies. No one can represent you better than YOU. Which means if you are on a path and know who you are, know your brand, and want to get started marketing yourself, networking is the next step. As you began networking, you may find that you enjoy the experience. My natural instincts started to kick in again, I realize the same tools that I had used to network with people before the internet became our drug of choice was clear again. Before the internet really began to took off, in the early 200, 1 I was the queen of marketing and connecting with people. So realizing that I had the strength and the abilities gave me more confidence. When networking with others, my preference is the one on one approach. This gives me the space needed to get to know the other person and what their business is about. It’s a win for each of us, they get to know me, and I them, and we each move on to the next person.
2. Plan Your First Impression:
Plan this first impression carefully, recognize that first impressions are just that, and you only get one chance to present your best self as you want the people you meet to remember. Keeping in mind that you don’t need to be decked out in your best suit or dress, but present yourself professionally. After all, you never know who you are going to meet. Show up with nothing less than the best version of you at each event.
3. Realize Less Is More:
A good practice is to be very selective in the events that you attend, you should have an idea client in mind that you want to work with. Connecting with small business owners and consultants was my goal, so establishing myself among this group of people was important. And of course picking up a possible client or two during this connection. This group of people hangs out at a number of events locally, namely they are usually found at any Chamber of Commerce meeting event, or some other local events where there are speakers present. This is where you can find a diamond if you are careful.
4. Take action volunteer your time:
Successful people invest their time instinctively, rather than following their urges, this is where volunteering is another way of networking because you get to meet new people daily while you volunteer at local events. This way, if you are the nervous type, you won’t have to suffer from anxiety while you connect with new people. A great idea is to volunteer at the event, and you can meet them as they enter the event. This positions you as someone helpful. This will be proof to those you want to connect with that you are indispensable. Volunteering also demonstrates your social skills in real time, they see you in action, and there is no question about your networking skills.
5. Do Some Research:
Don’t get caught off guard, do your research about upcoming events in your area. Find out who the speakers are going to be, this helps you pinpoint your target market. Knowing what types of businesses will be at the events helps you to better organize your strategy. This strategy gives you the opportunity to spend more time with fewer people. Planned correctly, the research that you have done will payoff in a great way. You get to impress key targets with knowledge of knowing who they are and why you are a perfect match.
So you’ve made the connection with those you would like to do business with and everything is going great, they know more about you, you know more about their business and what challenges they face RIGHT? Be sure to focus on the business professionals you meet, asking thoughtful questions, doing this gives you information to develop a strategy to work with them. Networking means that you value the person you are talking with and you show a sincere interest in them rather than promoting yourself.
7. Follow Up:
The one strategy that needs to be implemented to attract the kind of clients you want to work with is follow up. The professionals that you connected with at the event need to hear from you. Studies show we forget half of what we hear within a 48 hour period. Create your personalized follow-up messages and email them within two days or risk having your brilliant remarks erased permanently from the minds of those you wowed. If you’re not following up, you’re not networking. Again, don’t wait to be contacted, get those emails out. Stay in contact with any potential clients for future business dealings, which means work for you.
Let’s be clear, this is not the only place to find potential clients. This was the start for my networking, plan, which took me outside of my comfort zone.One of the best lessons learned from this is you have to take action. Taking action gets you noticed, and people are curious about you, and want to get to know about you and your business. Most are happy to answer any questions, and will gladly talk with you about their business.
Lastly, connecting with fellow entrepreneurs is a given these days, and you must partake upon this adventure if you want to be found out. Yes, the internet allows for social networking, through all the social platforms. However, nothing beats the ole tried and true face to face hookup. We need human contact which gives us a sense that we belong, we get feedback, one on one inspiration, and gives you the courage, strength and power to keep things moving in your business.