Need help networking and getting your name out there? It was fun being a guest on radio station KGMI’s The Whatcom Report today. I spoke with today’s host and the Bellingham Chamber’s Development Director, Drew Graham on networking and customer service.
Drew made it easy, as his former career in radio broadcast showed. It just seemed like a very pleasant conversation about building business – I nearly forgot we were “live” – which is truly the way it should be. He made me feel comfortable and the time flew.
We discussed some key tips for people uncomfortable with in-person networking. Here are my notes on some of the ideas:
go looking for customers. When I go to a business networking
event, my goal is to meet several interesting people; learn more about them,
and get their contact information if I enjoyed talking with them. Focus on
widening your horizons – learning something – and be clear on the
products/services you provide with the value you bring to the table. When
appropriate, let people know what it is that you do – and then be quiet and
listen to learn about others.
interested, rather than interesting – focus on others more than
fun and enthusiastic. People want to be around people like that.
Follow up with people you enjoyed talking with by making notes on their business card, or
on a notepad you’ve brought with you. (Chamber has a neat way of helping people
track information). Think if there
is anyone you know right off the bat who could be a good connection for them.
I’m saying don’t
wait for them to refer business your way – do it first.
Adopt an abundant
mindset – help others and you will be helped. Here’s the catch – it often
doesn’t come back to you by way of that person, but from someone else.
When you meet someone, make eye contact, extend your
hand, say their name after they say it to you, say your name, and learn more
If you are not good at remembering names, always keep a small notepad or jot it into
your PDA if there is a good chance you’ll see each other again.
with people you met who could potentially be referral partners or prospective
clients OR just interesting people – within
24 hours as often as you can. If you get behind a day or two – still follow
up – late is better than not.
Find great note
cards that match your audience. For example I had someone in one of my
classes last week who is very environmentally intune and they were disappointed
that one of their clients sent THEM a handwritten note rather than
phoning. In this case a 100% recycled
card would be more appropriate -but in learning about the customer, they really
should have just picked up the phone.
Email me (see the link for my email) for a list of books and websites to make you a better connector.