- Know yourself and your brand. Are you hip, trendy, and cool? If you are, then the networking group you join should match your style and your attitude. Sure, you want to meet different types of people for your business, but you also want them to “get you.” And you want them to be fun to work with, right?
- Know what you want. When you attend a networking event, what is it you want from the event? Contacts? Referrals? People to brainstorm ideas? One colleague joined a marketing group – to learn about writing marketing copy. Then complained when she did not land new business. New business was not the focus of the group. If you want new business, join a leads group. It’s also important to go into a group with a goal. When attending your next conference who would you most like to meet? Make a plan.
- Know what you bring to the table that no one else does. What makes you or your product unique among your competitors? Don’t tell me it’s your quality, service, and price. Yawn. Since everyone says this, it does not stand out. And, if you’re only competing on price, you’ll lose customers to the next guy who has a lower price than yours.
- Know your audience. Who is your target audience? Know that not everyone is your ideal client. At one networking event I attended, a beauty product rep said, “I work with anyone with skin.” People in the group were confused. “Anyone with skin” was too broad and unfocused so they didn’t know how or who to refer to her. Who is your favorite customer or business and how can you find their clones? Knowing who you want to work with – and who needs to know about you – makes it much easier to attract the right clients for your business. And helps others help you best.
- Know that the more you give, the more you get.Networking is not all about you. You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up!™ Keep others in mind when networking.
- Know how to start a conversation. Develop at least three open-ended questions you can ask a person in your new networking group. Here are a few to get you started:
- What brings you to this conference?
- How did you get started in your business?
- What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?
Keep your questions open and inviting. That way you can start a warm conversation.
7. If you’re shy, know that it’s A-OK to team up with a friend to attend events and meet new people. It’s much easier to introduce your friend to others and then introduce yourself.
8. Know when a group’s a great fit for your business – and when it is not. Join at least three types groups. 1) A Peer group for brainstorming, education, commiserating, and more importantly for creating alliances; 2) Prospects: a group that is your ideal target market or knows your ideal target market; 3) Professional business group or leads group. Joining a peer or professional group can also increase your search engine rankings, your visibility, and your credibility because they often publish a directory of their members on their membership website.
9. Know that in order to make the most of a group you’ve got to take an active role. Networking is more than just showing up.
10. Know that networking is simply having a conversation with friends. A good networker gives to and maintains their network.
© 1993 – 2015 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.