Many of us who are in the small business community, whether we’re business owners, leaders, or sales professionals, we all tend to get involved in business networking in some way, either formally or informally. So what I want to do today is look at four tips on how to get better results through networking. Specifically, I’m talking about results from within business networking groups. So let’s get started:
1. Clearly identify your target market. No matter what type of marketing you’re doing, you need to identify who you’re going after first. Networking is no different. You need to know the demographic, geographic, and psychographic profiles of your target market. For networking groups, be aware that you may need to tweak your target a little bit. Think about the group members and their networks, and tweak your target market so that it best speaks to them. You can customize it to some degree as long as it still fits within your overall marketing strategy.
2. Be memorable. In networking groups, we have the chance to give commercials or introductions. Plus, we can meet one-on-one with group members outside of the formal meetings. Take advantage of these opportunities. Be memorable. Be funny, if that’s your gift. If you’re creative, make sure people see that side of you. Do things that stand out. Use visuals. Give handouts. Leave things for other people to remember you by. Do everything you can to ensure that your message won’t get lost.
3. Realize that people are always noticing what you’re doing. People are watching, whether intentionally or not. If we miss meetings, if we’re always late, or if we say things that are inappropriate, others will take notice. That’s just something to be aware of while you’re attending networking events. You want to make a good impression on the other group members, because they are more likely to help you out if they actually like you.
4. Treat every referral like gold. This is kind of self-evident, and we all know that we need to follow up quickly, treat referrals courteously, etc. However, this is especially important for that very first referral someone gives you. Maybe it’s from a new member who hasn’t referred business to you before. Well, it’s so important to treat that first one he sends your way like gold. Follow up with them, communicate, do everything you can for them basically. Because if you don’t treasure that first referral, you can bet there won’t be any additional ones coming your way.
So those are the four tips for getting more out of business networking. Go out, take action on these, and have a better an amazing day.