Traditionally, with this approach business people attend designated “networking meetings” where they meet other people and exchange business cards in the hope that one of the people they talked to would send some clients their way. Some people may look at it as an “Old School” method but networking done effectively can still work. It’s about building relationships and taking that initial introduction to the next level.
Other business people have realized that networking can be done anywhere, not just at designated meetings. These people often carry business cards with them at all times and may strike up a conversation with the person in front of them in line at the grocery store or sitting next to them at the Little League game.
The Internet of course has taken networking to a whole different level…
Now people are turning to social networking sites in order to meet new potential business partners and clients. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus are providing us with the means to connect with people from all over the World and not just in our backyard.
It doesn’t matter which form it takes place in, networking is essentially a way of marketing your business through building relationships with other people. Some of these people may turn into your clients, some may be a source of clients, and others may actually become future business partners.
Networking has many benefits…
Generally speaking, it is a free or low cost activity. It can take up some of a person’s time, but other than that, there really isn’t a huge cost unless you’re traveling to a conference. It is important to note that some networking groups do require a membership fee, but it is very easy to find many free networking opportunities if that is your goal.
In many circumstances, a networking situation will lead to word of mouth advertising, which is extremely valuable. For example, if a web designer meets someone through a networking group or through a social networking platform and establishes a connection, that person may recommend them to several people they know on a personal level.
I’ve had great success in networking in person and online. I have found that joining groups in LinkedIn and Facebook has provided me with great strategic partners and allowed me to increase my bottom line by featuring my business knowledge thru posts. Being a giver and helping others goes a long way with getting future referrals.
As you know, when someone sees an ad they take it with a grain of salt. They know it is advertising. But when someone receives a recommendation from a person they know and trust, they often follow that person’s recommendation and buy the services or products that have been recommended to them.
Whether done face to face or over the Internet, it does take time to build relationships with other people. Some easy ways to get things started may be to spark up a conversation about something you have in common with the other person, or to offer help or advice to them.
The effects of networking may not be seen overnight, but over time a person will start to receive calls or emails from potential customers saying that they were referred by so-and-so. This lets the person know that their networking has paid off.
So I challenge you to go out and do some networking. If it’s in person and you don’t like to go by yourself go with a friend. If you are brave go solo. Create a plan before you go if possible on who you want to connect with. Ask for introductions.
If you’re braver on the Internet take that route. Step outside your comfort zone and meet new people.
I love networking with my blog followers so please leave me your comments and connect with me on social media.0 Advertising, Networking, Social Media, Social Media Marketing