With so many networking groups and meetings these days it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you try to decide how to implement the “networking” part of your marketing plan. Some groups do speed networking. Others pass leads. Still others don’t seem to be networking at all but rather social events where business never even gets discussed.
So, how do you use your time wisely to get the most from your networking this year?
One way is to remember that most of us prefer to do business with people we like and trust. Therefore, the more people who trust and like you, the more potential customers or clients you have.
A desk drawer full of business cards means nothing.
Networking developed as a way to connect us with more people, to develop these relationships. But simply trading business cards is not a reason for someone to do business with you. It’s just a starting point.
The real relationship building starts after you meet someone and trade business cards. This is when you either forge a new friendship. This is when you should take time to reach out to these people. Find ways to be of service to them. Send them articles they might find useful. Invite them to lunch or to a chamber meeting. If you need what they do, become their client or customer. Or at least ask about their business to learn more about them.
By staying in touch with people you find that a relationship will develop naturally with some people. You have chemistry with certain people and you might even become close friends. With others you might find nothing develops or you just become casual acquaintances.
When relationships do develop you will most likely find that doing business (or referring business) becomes a natural part of that relationship. And that’s how it should be!
So, don’t collect business cards this year. Build relationships. Do that and your success is virtually guaranteed.