There are so many ways a strong network can strengthen your business. Of course, your…
Why and How to Become an Awesome Networker
We all know that having the right people around you is pivotal to running a successful business. This includes clients, business partners, your team and suppliers.
The quality of my networks is one of the key ingredients of the strength of my business. We do no marketing. None. So how do we keep new clients coming in the door? We have a very strong network of people who filter new clients to us.
As a self-publishing business, our network includes writing coaches, editors, authors, designers, printers and booksellers who we know and trust. Such people will often get asked about how to publish a book, and when they do, they refer people to us.
So how do you build a powerful network of great people to support and grow your business?
- Work with the right people.
I honestly believe we produce some of the highest quality self-published books in Australia. So, we only want referrals of potential clients who are looking for a high-quality service.
If we worked with cheap designers, or editors, or printers, not only will the quality of the work be lower, we’ll also receive lower quality referrals. A low-cost printer or designer is going to work with people who are looking to do things on the cheap. That’s not our target market.
- Find out who is ahead of you and after you in the supply chain.
Have a look at your products and services. Who will your clients be working with before they contact you, and who will they want to work with after they have worked with you?
For example, as a self-publishing business, we have partnerships with a number of writing coaches, who send us authors they have worked with when their books are ready for publishing. And we have a number of marketing and publicity people we send these authors on to when their books are complete.
This is great networking for everybody. The writing coaches get to promote that they have a publishing team they work with, and we get to do the same for marketing. And we all cross-refer to each other. Everybody wins.
- Start every connection by giving, not taking.
Whenever you meet somebody new, whether it’s a potential client, business partner or team member, ask yourself what you can offer them, not what you can get.
- Get online.
Although meeting people in person is always the best way to network, don’t forget about online. Social media is a great way to grow your network.
- Always be helpful.
I have a policy in my business that once I start talking to a potential client, I don’t want to give them any reason to go elsewhere.
- Stay in touch.
Somebody you haven’t spoken to for two years is not in your network. You can’t just contact people when you want something. Call, email and catch up with people in your network on a regular basis to keep relationships alive and healthy.
- You don’t need to connect with everybody.
While it’s always good to grow your network, sometimes you clearly have nothing in common with someone. Don’t waste their time or yours. Move on to the next opportunity.
- Don’t be shy.
Is there somebody at an event you’re keen to talk to, but you’re worried they are ‘too important’, or that they won’t be interested in you? Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and explain why you’d love to chat. The worst they can do is say no.
- Drop people from your network who don’t belong.
Who you associate with reflects on your business. If you want to get to the top of your field, hang out with people who are at the top of their field. If somebody is dragging you down or making your life hard, stop associating with them.
- Always follow up.
Whenever you meet somebody new, and you’d like to develop a relationship, always follow up. This will help them remember you. This can be a simple email or text message saying it was great to meet and you look forward to perhaps working together in the future.
- Make notes.
When somebody gives you a business card, always write on the back when and where you met them, and the key points of any discussions you had. If they don’t give you a business card, make notes on your phone.
- Always think long term.
Solid relationships are built over time. If a relationship experiences a speed bump, try to work through it rather than giving up.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get out there and get networking.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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