Published: April 8th, 2015; By: Judi Hughes

No one marketing initiative should be a stand-alone activity. One marketing activity must always have a call-to-action towards another initiative so you are providing opportunity for people to buy-in to your community. It’s all about building trust and credibility. This is particularly true of networking.

Through our own experience and the experiences of our business owner clients, we have seen how networking both online and offline, builds relationships and in turn builds flourishing businesses.

How do you get the most from your networking? 

Plan:

  • Be strategic in your selection of venues. Where are you investing your time?
  • Set goals for your efforts, for example: If you going to an event, invite qualified people to participate in your free webinar. If participating on Social Media, increase your Blog readership.

 Prepare:

  • Research the event, the participants and consider why they are attending. You want to be pro-active in meeting people.
  • Know your message and your desired next-step.
  • Have business cards, pen and paper to take notes for follow-ups. Using a mobile device can be distracting so take notes.

 Participate:

  • Ask questions, you want to know more about them than they know about you. Listen to the answers!
  • Don’t try to sell anything. It’s about engagement.
  • Always consider “how can I help this person?
  • Share. Leave everyone with some added value.  You are the expert.
  • Be genuine.

Follow-up:

  • Follow up with your new contacts within 48 hours.
  • Send an email with some reference of interest. For example, “as promised here is …”
  • Suggest a next step. It could be a phone call or an online invitation to connect.
  • Invite appropriate people to join your online community.
  • Include appropriate contacts in your data base for future connection.

You too can build your business by building relationships. Make networking one of your successful marketing strategies for your business growth.

Here are some additional free resources to help support your Networking Strategy:

Networking Guidelines – our full, step-by-step guide to strategic networking
Are There Diamonds In Your Backyard? – a popular post on networking in your own client base