Networking is a huge part of building your business, your brand and your customer base. Learning how to network like a pro is crucial to building your business and succeeding. It’s especially vital for small businesses that are trying to get their name known. Networking is all about building a powerful referral network, and it’s the easiest way to drive revenue. Here are a few tips on how to be a successful networker and how doing so can grow your business.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media has grown massively and has become one of the most commonly used methods of communication. Having an online presence is no longer a bonus; it’s become immensely important. Your customers are searching for your services and products online, and when you don’t have an online presence, they won’t always find you. Businesses lacking an online presence are forced to get their name spread through advertising and word of mouth, which is not nearly as prevalent these days.
Join small business forums online to learn from other entrepreneurs, engage in group interactions, and share what you know. This will help business owners notice you, which will cause them to add you as a business contact. The connection may lead to free promotion of you or your company.
Get in Touch with the Community
In addition to having great social media accounts and an online presence, it’s important to get in touch with the local community. Stop by small business stores and introduce yourself. You may find a business that fits with your values and you could partner up during the holidays. Build these relationships by putting yourself out there and strengthening the relationship with mutual projects and opportunities.
Look for Unique Opportunities
Anytime you come across a unique opportunity that may allow you to network, go for it. Opportunities come up all the time that are unique, unconventional and easy to pass up. When waiting in line at the DMV, consider talking to the person next to you and mentioning your business. At the grocery store, the airport or the convenience store, don’t be afraid to talk to those around you and make yourself known. You never know what customers are out there that you could find by accident.
Attend an Event
Sometimes you have to find networking opportunities by going to networking specific events. Plan out your evening by finding your key targets before you attend the event so that you can plan on ways to build your network. Learn about the attendees from the invitation, the host committee or board list, so you can determine who you most need to meet.
Take a colleague that can work the other side of the room than you. Dress for success because your presentation is everything. Make sure you look professional and are interested when someone speaks to you. Also, be sure to have a simple, concise, and informative explanation of what you do.
A crucial factor in successful networking is to have good follow-up. To build and strengthen your network, you must take the time to follow up. Do a 24-hour follow-up with new customers or contacts by email, so that you can remind them of the specifics of your conversation and the steps moving forward that were discussed. They will appreciate the quick follow-up and you won’t lose a potential client or partnership over waiting too long to contact them.
Use these tips to become a successful networker and watch as your business grows based on your efforts.