We wanted to share our tips about Online and Offline networking and encourage you to use them in conjunction.
Networking can be interpreted in many ways
but activities should include:
– going to networking events, parties, trade shows, and other gatherings where you meet new people
– making sure you keep in touch with those people
– connecting those people with other people you know, where it would be of mutual benefit
– meeting people again for “1-2-1s” and finding out more about their businesses
– Joining a group such as BNI, NRG, Business Junction, Athena, or Chambers of Commerce where you meet regularly to continue to get to know other members.
– Building relationships with other business people and showing yourself as an expert in your field as well as a nice reliable and helpful person.
All of these are typical of traditional networking.
What we are seeing now is that there are a lot of online groups as well. These have been around for many years and their usage is growing. Examples include Ecademy, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
There are many benefits to making proper use of these:
Here at Top Left Design, we are active networking people! Its the most fun way to grow your business and you know what they say – “people buy people!”
Keren is a member of:
BNI Mayfair – www.bnimayfair.co.uk
NRG Marble Arch – nrg-networks.co.uk
Ecademy – www.ecademy.com/user/keren
Here are my thoughts on the Ups and DOWNs of networking:
I like to start on a positive note, so I will do the “Ups” first.
- TURN UP – BNI and Networking is a long term thing. Its simple. If you keep showing up you will be remembered and will remind people of your existence. Over time, you will develop a long lasting business relationships.
- SPEAK UP – with your 60 second commercial is an opportunity to clearly state who you are, what you do, how you add value and of course, what type of referral you are looking for
- SHUT UP – BNI is about Giver’s Gain, so you need to listen to what other people are saying to find out how YOU can help THEM get more business referrals.
- FOLLOW UP – at a networking events are not about doing business but making new contacts, but if you don’t follow up, those people will forget about you, you will be just another business card in their drawer. Always always follow up on anyone you meet. Write down on the back of their business cards something spoke to them about – and then email or call them and put them in touch with that person you said you would or invite them to another networking event.
- MEET UP – having 1-2-1 meetings is one of the most effective ways to build up your referral based business, if you focus on how to help eachother get more business and ask the right questions you can get a much better understanding of what people do, and how you can help them.
Now that I have told you about the UPS – its time for the downs. It’s not like me to be negative but I still need to tell you about these 3 last points:
- WRITE DOWN what referrals people have asked for in their intro talks
- HONE DOWN your own speech, the more clear and specific you are the better results you will get
- And finally GET DOWN and Relax! After all the hard work networking and helping other people, you will find you have much more success in your business and the work will come pouring in, and you need stop sometimes and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Hope this has been useful for you! Dont be shy if you want to comment or send us a message: