Your business needs leads like yesterday! Business networking provides valuable opportunities for lead generation.
Are you the small business owner who thinks that the networking events are for hard sell? You might want to revisit that thought.
Here are 6 tips for effective Small Business Networking:
1. Have a strategy
Write down your networking goals: Whom do you need to connect with to help you achieve your goals? Allocate weekly networking slots on your calendar. Set aside your networking budget.
2. Earn trust
Sow seeds and be patient in building those relationships. Nobody wants to get sold! Create value for your target clients and potential business referral partners. Join the conversation (online and offline), share your knowledge, be a resource your community, engage with people on their social media pages, tag them, give them a shoutout. Make a habit of asking “How can I help?”
3. Build a network
While social media makes it easy to establish new connections, maintaining them requires a bit more effort. Think long term. Each person you meet is a gateway to their own network. Nourishing existing relationships is important to open new doors to your business.
4. Connect with connectors
Connectors are the people/organizations that have access to large Networks (such as MOM2MOM BIZ®) that are constantly expanding. They are the natural relationship builders and nurturers, who hold the potential to make introductions and connections on your behalf. Build trust with the connectors by joining their networks. Being a connector takes time and consistent effort; a great way to reciprocate is to be willing to share your expertise with their community. You can also consider helping connectors to expand their networks by introducing them to new connections and influencers.
5. Focus your efforts
Avoid the temptation to be part of the every networking group in town! Find the business networking groups that resonate with your values and goals the most and stick with them.
6. Be curious
Your energy speaks louder than your words. Genuine curiosity combined with active listening skills works wonders in networking. Remember that everyone knows something that you don’t know. Every business owner has a brand story to tell; asking about the business inspiration is a great way to start the conversation. Buying products and services from a fellow business owner almost always sparks genuine interest in your own products and services.
Networking is an investment, not a cost!
Consistently done right, it can build a strong lead generation and referral foundation for your business.