I know you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, right. Well, this will be helpful for anyone in business – or at least those who network. I was at a business meeting last week discussing how to network. Now, I am not meaning how to pass out your business cards to everyone you meet but how to actually make networking work for your business. What was said resonated pretty loudly, made so much sense and especially for someone who is new to a city (read: state) and starting a new business. Don’t worry; I will get to the dentist part.
Networking isn’t about passing out business cards but working a room and planning ahead to work it well. You have to plan ahead for your networking event by knowing who will be there, ideas on how you can help them and how they could help you. When you plan ahead, you know there will be folks that may not be able to help you and there will be those that will. The key is to learn who those folks are and to spend time with them and less time with those that aren’t as beneficial. Remember time is money. If it doesn’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense.
We discussed his tactic which was along the lines of getting right into it by finding out from them how one could add value to their business. (You should already know what would add value to your business because if you don’t know what you need, then you won’t know where to go to get it let alone how to tell others how they can help you.) If you can’t add value to their business then help those along by asking who you can introduce them to at that networking event that can add value. This gives you the opportunity to reach another possibility.
That has always been the hard sell for me. I have always been the relationship building type person, asking about the person, interests, what they do, why they do it… just get to know them. But if you think about it, while building relationships is important, how much am I making by building this relationship? What kind of return of investment via time and expenses am I providing myself with this networking event if I just made a lot of friends/relationships but no real contact with someone that I could help or they could help me? While it is quite possible that those relationships could return a few referrals over the coming months, but how is it helping the here and now? How is this helping my business grow today? It just made a lot of sense to me. Does this make sense to you?
The other part of it is to drill down and find out what your ideal customer is and who knows your ideal customer is before you. Further, on that thought, you need to figure out what type of person, or industry would typically refer to you. Are you able to refer back to that person? If not, then what type of person could you provide them in reciprocal? For example, a dentist will refer to an orthodontist but the orthodontist typically won’t refer back to the dentist. So who could the orthodontist refer to that would add value to the dentist, in return? What about a pediatrician? This in turn provides patients for the dentist who ironically may refer to the orthodontist. Interesting huh? Do you know who your dentist is? If you do, do you know how to provide value back to that dentist so they will keep referring?
I thought about mine for a minute – I work on established websites by optimizing them for search engines, create paid ads on Google but use their current pages as landing pages and help by creating a social media buzz for their business. A business law attorney might be a good lead as they help start up businesses, and then thought that web developers would be good unless they provide the same services and I am still pondering more. Anyways, found this to be powerful and I hope it helped you with thoughts on how to work your networking events better, to better provide value and receive value from those networking buddies.
On another note, if you need any assistance with running a paid search campaign (PPC), optimizing your website to reach more visitors and potential customers or to engage with your followers on social media, contact me and let me know how I can help.