Use these 5 strategies to become a stronger networker
If you think networking is only for events, here are a few ideas to expand how you view this important business-building activity. Here are attitudes you can master to develop yourself into a master networker with one of the strongest networks around. Remember:
Referral business and word of mouth marketing are good for your business!
(See below for some tips on getting referrals)
1. Clearly define your ideal client The shotgun approach takes a lot of energy and time. Your time is valuable. Set a goal for yourself right now to take the time to define your preferred client. This should be someone who puts good money in your pocket because you fit their needs to a tee. Once you get the ideal defined, start looking for where these people and businesses are located.
2. Do your homework Once you have identified a person or business you want to know more about, start paying attention to their advertising, listen to what people around you are saying, spend a little time researching. Opportunities are all around you. When you identify a potential client or business, start by doing your homework.
3. Connect through your connections Who do your connections know? You can ask those close to you if they are acquainted with your ideal client (see below for exactly what to say). You can use the internet and social networking sites like Linked-In to learn about people and companies. There are other options as well. Use what pays off in ROI for you. It will probably be highly dependent on the situation.
4. Go where your target market hangs out If you can, go there and hang out too. Find out through friendly conversation what's important to them. What organizations do they belong to? Give them a chance to brag a little bit, and don't you be afraid to do the same in return.
5. Make a friend first Remember that people do business with their friends. That means you need to develop relationships with people you identify as key to your business so you can help their business (yes, you read that correctly) and they in turn will help your business.
Referrals are what you are seeking
Use your network of contacts - including your current and former clients or customers, your family, and your friends - to find new business. Here's the way to approach people you know:
I'm expanding my business and I need your help. Who do you know who...?
This makes it easier for your referral source to narrow down their list of everyone they know to hone in on the type of person you are looking for.
Before you start asking for referrals, go back to your definition of your ideal client. Select a few traits of your ideal client and use these to complete the sentence above.
I'm expanding my business and I need your help.
Who do you know who has been in their job, business or professional practice
for more than 2 years and is confused about what their next step should be?
There. You've got one of my referral statements. Trust me on this: if you send me a referral, I'm going to do my darnedest to send you one in return. It's called reciprocity and we reciprocate for kindnesses and considerations all the time.
What would your business look like if you had 6 of us
actively sending you referrals because we were
reciprocating for referrals you sent us?