What a week it's been - and it's only Tuesday! If you were part of the Global Speed Networking Event on Sunday, you know how wild this week has been. (If you weren't there, why not? I can't wait to meet you).
So I thought this week I would offer advice on how to use networking, and more importantly, YOU as a marketing tool that will increase your bottom line.
What Exactly Is Networking?
Business networking provides a low-cost marketing platform for you to develop and increase sales opportunities and contacts. Using referrals and introductions, you can develop your connections through face-to-face meetings and get-togethers, workshops, seminars, or by other means of communication such as emails, social media platforms, and video conferencing.
Networking Is Not A Sales Pitch
You know when I said networking could increase your sales opportunities? I wasn't lying, but the point of networking isn't to sell. You have to be ready to be your best authentic self and build relationships with the people you network with. That means you have to listen, be engaging, offer support, and become friends with the people you meet.
If you go to a networking event with the sole purpose of selling your products and services, then you're likely to leave disappointed. The "quick sale" method doesn't work. Instead, think of networking as creating a community of like-minded people. The more time you spend nurturing these relationships, the more rewards you'll reap.
Networking Is Marketing
You may be thinking "if I'm not selling anything, then how am I marketing?" To which I have two things to say:
Marketing is not the same as advertising; there is more to both than just selling a product or service.
You are marketing you: People Buy From People They Trust - become your brand and be authentic, and people will come to you.
There is a psychology to marketing, you have to develop a deep understanding of your target market, and what better way than to learn what makes your target market tick than learning about them first-hand?
Always follow-up your event by contacting the people that you met, arrange regular catch-up meetings and spend that time getting to know your network on a personal level. And yes, this includes if you work in a B2B industry - are your prospective clients not still people at the end of the day?
Spending this time getting to know one another will strengthen the relationship, offer advice, celebrate their wins, and never be in it strictly to sell.
So How Do I Make Sales?
The sales will happen, and they may happen in unexpected ways. The network that you've spent time nurturing will refer you to their network, or they may require your services for their own business. Likewise, if you need some work done, then you can reach out to your network and hire their services to meet your needs. You will also find that you will introduce different areas of your network for collaborative projects.
As I've said, networking is not about the quick sale; it's about making sure that your business has longevity and will continue to prosper in the future.
If you consider your network as a series of webs linked with each other through mutual respect and friendship, then you'll always be able to provide a valuable service to someone. So the next time you go to a networking event, go to make some new friends!
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I'll see you next week 😀