As a business owner I have learned over the last year or so that Networking is fundamental to creating new business and getting more clients. Customers do not just fall onto your doorstep and so we need to get out there and let people know what we do.
Networking is a great way to do this and so much more, however for some, this can be quite daunting.
How to network and say what you do
I am lucky enough to run a busy networking group in Brighton (the Mumpreneurs Networking Club- MNC) and someone recently said something that got me thinking. It was a first appearance and they said after the meeting, I don't think this meeting is for me as no one bought anything from me today.
Now I am sure some of you may gasp but it got me thinking that I am sure many people have felt like this when they start out networking, go to a business meeting or generally get out there and start promoting their business.
The important thing that I wanted to share is that networking is about creating relationships. Avoid thinking that you need to tell them everything you can do! This can come across as hard selling and can potentially repel people and make them want to avoid you. Avoid the hard sell! when you meet people for the first time they just want to know a little bit about what you do. Keep it clear and simple. They need to get to know you. People buy into people! YOU are your business.
Work the room
Therefore you want to learn what other people do, ask questions, and engage with them, they will ask you about what you do. Keep it specific and try to avoid a hard sell (even though it can be very tempting). This is where you really need to have a clear business identity. This is a clear way of explaining what you do. Remember to listen and engage with people as you may miss something that could be vital to what you do. I tell people I am a style coach, I help men and women look great in what they wear.
The more that people get to know you and what you do, they will learn to trust you as a reputable business person. They may start seeing you on social media, getting great feedback and hearing people say great things about what you do.
When someone mentions that they need a wardrobe detox or help finding an outfit to that wedding, your name jumps out and they recommend you!
There is so much more!
You can also get so much more from the meeting. Think of all the people in the room and all their contacts. When we set up our business it can be daunting all the things we need to learn and know. From social media, website, marketing, networking and so on...use your contacts!
Let's imagine that you would like to get your business into the local newspaper or magazine, When you go along to your networking meetings and get chatting and listening to people, I bet you will find a contact who can help you. If you need some help with social media, ask around and offer to buy them a coffee or skill swap! You can get so much help with your business and it will also save you time and money.
Try different groups too and branch out to other areas! I have met quite a few people who just stick to their own town= spread your wings.
Make sure that you create a great first impression and look the part for your brand. Then remember to relax have fun and enjoy meeting new people.
I hope that helps? I would love to hear your comments ... If you are interested in coming along to one of my busy monthly Brighton MNC meetings then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if indeed you would like some help looking the part for your business or anything else call me now for a friendly chat 07557 818103.