Did you know that one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting to get different results? If you’re spending far too much time behind your desk, alone in your office and expecting clients to miraculously find their way to you then you might want to take a sanity check.
It’s time to get out from behind your computer and go and meet real people and have real conversations about business.
Unless you’re a techie geek and planning on becoming the next big internet marketer then working on your computer all day long is not going to be the best business building strategy for you. You need to be getting out and about and meeting real people and having real conversations. The way I launched my new business in the States was through networking (and it continues to be one of my top business building strategies).
If you’re not convinced about the power of networking read on to discover the 5 major benefits:
1) Networking creates direct opportunities for new business for you. Truth is people buy from people they know. You are far more likely to buy from somebody you know when you need a service or a new product than from doing a random Google search to find somebody you have zero connection with. As you build new connections through networking, people will think of you first before Google.
2) It’s a fun and inexpensive way to do some market research. A lot of small business owners are using guesswork when it comes to truly knowing their target audience. Getting out from behind the computer and having real conversations enables you to find out what’s most on their minds. What are the biggest challenges they are currently facing? What are some of their key priorities for the year ahead? What are their biggest frustrations? It’s also a great opportunity to get feedback on your own elevator pitch to see if it’s resonating with them or not. You can wordsmith your elevator pitch until you’re blue in the face but nothing gives you better feedback than somebody looking confused or better still saying “I need that – tell me more!”
3) You directly receive contact information. When you attend a networking event you can easily come away with a pile of business cards that have phone numbers and emails on them. Plus if you’ve been networking effectively, you will have already started to build a little know, like and trust factor with them so it’s much easier to follow up to people who may be a potential client, a new vendor or even a new connection for further introductions.
4) You can create a network of referral partners for your business. Simply put, the more relationships you build, the more likely word-of-mouth marketing will play a role in attracting new clients to your business. Through networking you can also build relationships with people who are a center of influence and have other networks of contacts and people that they can introduce you to.
5) Discover other networking and speaking opportunities. I personally love using networking to discover what other events I should be attending or where I could be speaking. All you have to do is ask, “What events are you planning to attend this year?” “What other groups or associations do you belong to?”