For the business owner getting the next sale or deal is what’s on top of their mind. For the franchisee it’s finding funds to be able to buy a franchise business for a career opportunist it is landing the job they are applying for.
What I found interesting as an online marketing consultant is how many people ignore and push networking aside and use the excuse they are too busy to network. It’s also interesting to observe in discussions the number of people out there who have never attended a networking event and don’t know what networking is.
If you are looking for the next customer or the next franchisee, networking must to be included in your marketing strategy and must be a priority in your business strategy. It is vital that you spread the word and let people know you exist.
Attending networking events is never a waste of time because there is always something to learn. Even if it seemed a waste of time to you, the fact that you determined that it was a waste of time is an opportunity for you to question why it was a waste of time for you so that when you attend future events it turns into a value-add instead of wasting time. It’s about perspective and giving some thought as to how you can benefit from attending networking events.
There is so much to gain from attending networking events, if you are not convinced, here is what you can gain:
Introducing yourself is one of the biggest hurdles and wasted opportunities at networking events. One often doesn’t know what to say in a short period of time.
- Learn how people introduce themselves. See how they introduce themselves to give you ideas on how to introduce yourself.
- Listen to what people share in their introductions, is it clear? Did you understand what they offer?
- What can you learn from good introductions and what can you use to craft your own introduction?
Practice makes perfect and boosts your confidence. Unless you are retired or do not need to earn money, you will have to face people if you want to earn money and you will need to be able to sell what is you are offering. Whether you go for a job interview or have to sell your products or services to a potential buyer. In both settings, you need to be clear, confident and effective and most importantly the listener needs to understand you.
- Every opportunity you have to introduce yourself at a networking event is an opportunity to boost your confidence for times when you need it most, like having to present to a client you want to do business with.
- Networking in small settings gives you the confidence to present to larger audiences when the opportunity arises.
- Networking gives you the confidence to speak up in board meetings for example.
Another good use that networking has to offer is using the audience as your sounding board. It isn’t easy to come up with words that describe what you do that is understood by the listener or reader.
- Having to come up with a short introduction that explains exactly what you want your audience or customer to understand pushes you to step out of your comfort zone and be creative.
- It’s a perfect setting to see if what you are communicating to others gets you leads, if it doesn’t then you know you need to go back to the drawing board.
Networking can help you create content for your online profile.
- Having to come up with a short elevator speech gives you a kickstart to drafting your biography which you can use on your website and on sites such as LinkedIn.
- You can use the same introduction and convert it into something event organisers can use when you are invited to be a guest speaker.
For growing businesses and brands, networking is a powerful tool to research your potential customer, to listen and understand what is on people’s minds. It is also the perfect setting to listen to what people are not saying.
One doesn’t need money to make money. One needs access to people, a network. Whether you are an established brand, a growing business or you are just starting out. For established and growing businesses, networking is a powerful information tool that adds value to help you:
- Understand people and human behaviour.
- To see what people are up to?
- To help you understand what is on people’s minds so that you can deliver better products or services.
If you are looking for customers, as the decision-maker you need to be out there informing people that you are open for business. The point of networking is word-of-mouth marketing because you never know when someone knows someone who is in need of what you have to offer.
If you are wanting to start a business or maybe you are struggling to find customers or join a business as an employee,
- Use networking to learn and observe how people engage in the business arena.
- Use the opportunity to get noticed.
- Use the opportunity to practice and boost your confidence.
First impressions count, use networking as a stepping stone to pivot you on your dream to being your own boss or to boost your career. Instead of stressing and worrying about where the money will come from use your time wisely in preparation for the opportune moment and when that moment comes with each networking event you attend you will have gained confidence and knowledge placing you in a position of strength giving you the advantage over other people who are fighting for the same position or looking to find customers.
If you are a determined go-getter wanting to grow your customer base or if you would like to add value to a business with similar interests to yours, why not join us at the next event?