New Business doesn’t just turn up on your door-step!
Building real business contacts is the one thing ANY new business & indeed any established businesses, looking for new business, can do (in my opinion) via Networking.
The saying “people do business with people” is so true and not only do networking events enable you to meet people and build contacts, it goes beyond that with the ripple effect when people recommend you to others in their own network.
So why get “out there” and network? Well i’m going to liken it to internet dating! Fishing about online and emailing prospects doesn’t make a real connection! You don’t get to know the real people and don’t know if you want to partner up with them or not.
How many sales emails, newsletters and unsolicited emails do we get per day? How many emails, newsletters and unsolicited emails do you send out per day? AND how many of these ways of “connecting” with your prospects actually gets a response? I think, not very many!
Now if you get a ticket or register to go to YOUR local networking event you can start to meet people, make connections and get the email addresses of real people who you can genuinely say hello too!
As you settle in and work the room (especially if you are self-employed and a sole trader) you start to feel part of the group and the more you attend the more support, advice and work/sales/referrals you get!
No-one is going to knock on your door and say “will you come out to dinner with me” (back to the dating scenario) and unless you make sure you are out there making connections no-one is going to come and say “lets do business”. Now this brings me to virtual networking and this is (I think- as the host of #RVhour) a great starter for ten. If you take part in your local business hour on twitter, you have “virtually” met some of the people who go to the face-to-face networking events! It then gives you an “in” once you meet up: “ah you follow me on twitter, I see you’ve had a re-brand is great! Etc.
Sitting behind a screen, banging out information is soul destroying for the sole trader and you must make an effort to go networking and reap the benefits.
It’s not all about meeting brand new people at every event or meeting as many new people as possible in one night – it’s about building contacts, maintaining relationships, introducing members to others and generally supporting each other.
There are so many networking groups springing up now as the value of meeting contacts this way spreads. but you have to be a little selective: what really fits with you? Try a few on for size and see what fits you best, which is the most comfortable for you? Which is the best value for money? Where is it – is it where you want to do business? Do you leave with a take away and I don’t mean a goodie bag – did you learn something or get something out of being there?
So, do you want to be single and sit behind your laptop and hope that partners/clients/sales are going to knock on your door or are you going to find a few great partnerships who will grow into your business family?
We run Ribble Valley Networking (@RVNetworking) and it’s on the first Tuesday of every month 6-8pm here in the Ribble Valley Lancashire. We are informal, friendly and supportive and welcome anyone who wants to make great new contacts! I also host #RVhour (@RVhour) on twitter on Tuesdays 8-9pm. See you there!