If you’re not getting the results you want with the typical marketing and advertising channels, here’s another idea that can generate a lot of business for you: networking.
Networking involves regularly attending meetings or events with other business people, with the intent to connect with a group of like-minded individuals. You may find that you need services or products that these people can provide, but your ultimate goal is to find potential customers.
Dive Into Networking
First, do your research. There are likely numerous groups that meet in your area and each may have a slightly different focus. Some meet weekly, but most meet monthly. Some networking groups cater to either men or women, while others include both sexes. Find one you’re interested in, and attend a meeting. Be sure to bring business cards, samples of product or services if you’re able, and a notepad to take notes.
Try Meetup.com. There, you’ll find groups that meet that cater to every interest, industry, and demographic under the sun.
Get the business card of everyone you talk to, whether they seem like a future client or not. Sometimes networking relationships take a while to cultivate, and while someone you meet may not need your services that day, they very well may call you down the road.
Follow Up to Maximize your Marketing
The networking doesn’t end after the event. Enter the contact information from the business cards you collected into a database that you can easily access. Immediately send a thank you card to the people you spoke with, stating that you enjoyed meeting them, and if they have any need for your product/service, to contact you. Include a business card, even if you gave them one at the meeting.
Networking 101: It’s All About Who You Know
You’ve probably heard that statement dozens of times in the business world. And it’s true. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as important how talented you are, or where you went to school, but what connections you have. And it’s even more unfortunate if you don’t have any connections.
You Already Know Your Customers: Tap Your Resources
Make a list of all the people you know in the business world, as well as your friends and family. Are any of them in your industry? The majority probably aren’t, but you never know who they know. Drop a casual mention that you’re looking for clients in your field, and if they know of anyone who might benefit from your services, you’d appreciate the recommendation. Once you get their wheels turning, you’d be surprised how many people they know. Your current and past customers likely have good connections. Contact them and ask for referrals.
Market by Connecting Online
As you know, the internet is a great way to meet people. There are networking groups online as well, that serve as a wealth of information for growing businesses. Not only can you get advice on sales tax and Google advertising, but you can also post services you offer and connect with people through social media.
Don’t Stand Idly By
If you don’t put yourself out into the business world, your business will fail. It is more than a full-time job just to maintain contacts and make sales. Use your current and future contacts to generate business, and you’ll get back to having more time to do what you enjoy: running your business.