Get More Clients With Effective Networking Strategies

By: Joyce Oladipo

Networking, Ugh!

Mention the word and you either get these reactions:

I hate networking

Love it, its great. I get a lot of referral from it.

To some people the thought of networking gives them the cringe. Some people think networking means getting dress up, going to a large room full of people you know has a business, getting as much business cards as possible and promising to do lunch.

To me that sounds horrible, who wouldn't cringe at the thought of spending an hour or two exchanging business cards and sales pitching with a phony smile plastered on their face'

Most of the time it feels uncomfortable, deceptive and self centred.

Networking is not about that, but to build relationships. People like to do business with those they trust. When you don't like someone, do you feel comfortable doing business with them' Nope, I don't think so. It's all about connecting and sharing with other business owners, and all you have to do, to do that is to begin to shift your perspective from fear, and start building on abundance and love.

Networking needs to be based on sincerity and freedom of giving and sharing, and by doing so, you build and deepen mutually beneficial relationships with others. It's all about making lasting connections.

Before you start networking you need to know who your ideal clients are. Who are the people you like to do business with? Who are those that bring the best out of you when you work with them? Then you need to find out where they hang out in large numbers.

To make networking even more effective you can also work with other businesses that share the same target audiences or clients like you. Make sure their business doesn't over lap with yours.

When you are out networking make sure you can say what you do in 20 seconds. If you can't say what you do in 20 seconds you are losing potential clients.

Have a compelling business cards that get's you more clients. Your business card must be considered as a sales and referral tool. Make sure people know what you do, when they read your business card. Give them a good reason to call you on your card. Make sure you leave your home with plenty of card and also have another pocket for other people's business card too. How many times have I had someone say they have left the office in a hurry and forgot to put some cards in the purse'A lame excuse of course'. Keep extra business cards in your purse or handbag.

When you are networking make sure your business cards are easy to find when someone ask for it. For me, when am out there I always wear cloths with pockets. I keep my business cards in the left and keep those that I've received in the right pocket. So Sistah's don't bury your cards in the bottom of your gorgeous bag. Trust me; it's quite painful watching you go through your bag, thinking 'they are there somewhere'.

Do not waste your time chatting away with friends when you suppose to be meeting people. Go out of your way to get to know someone. One technique I love very much is to pretend that the event is my party. Since it's my party, I act like the hostess and introduce myself to everybody.

Smile and introduce yourself. Ask the person what they do and tell them what you do in a few seconds. Always ask them who their ideal clients are, they will be quite excited to know you are interested in helping them grow their business. Treat networking like an enjoyable way to meet new people, help them out, and maybe get something in return. In other word if you concentrate on giving rather than receiving you will find that the rewards will come later on.

When you finish speaking with someone make sure you get their business card. Write a note to yourself on the back of the person's business card because sometimes it's quite difficult to remember who someone is and what they do, especially after we've met with a dozen of new people.

Make sure you don't spend more that three to five minutes with anyone you talk too. You goal in a networking event is to mingle. So just ask questions about who they are and what they do and make notes on their business card.

The biggest mistakes that most business owners do after networking is that they don't follow-up. They collect business cards just to stash them in a drawer. If you want to get better result from your networking you need to pick up the phone and call that new person you've met.

Networking can be simple as friendship and as complex as match making. You can get the best result out of it too of you know you ideal client and work with the right person.

Now, that you have a few strategies to networking effective. Let's go on and build our business with networking.

@2006 Joyce Oladipo

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