If you have just started a business, networking can help you spread the word about what you do and the benefits you provide to potential clients. You might be a shy person, but making an effort and interacting with like-minded people and attending networking events will have plenty of benefits. Make it work for you by developing a unique selling proposition and a clear communication strategy.
When you start networking, it is important that you arrive prepared. You will have to get quality cards printed and leaflets to hand out to people who might be interested in your business. It might also be a good idea to get custom built exhibition stands ordered before you attend a conference or a trade show. You can get a spot in a prominent space for less than you would think, and you will be able to improve your brand awareness and image overnight.
Create an Online Sales Funnel
It is not enough to connect with people; you will need to find a way to add them to your sales funnel, as well. If you can’t stay in touch with your prospects, you might be wasting your time and money on networking events. You need to give them more information and make sure that you keep them interested. You might offer special discount codes they can redeem on your website, or a free download, maybe a trial.
Image via Joint Base Andrews
It is important that you stay professional when you attend networking events or engage with people online. You might want to personalise your communication, create meaningful connections, but never talk about taboo subjects at networking events or controversial issues, such as politics and religion. Focus on what you are about and what you have to offer, instead of going for the small chat.
If you would like to build the reputation of your business fast, you might offer free services or advice for people, so you can establish yourself as an expert. It is not going to cost you anything to give out free tips. You need to be helpful and professional at the same time. Be friendly, but stick to the point, and you will make the right impression.
You will need to follow up the leads you create on LinkedIn and in person, or they will soon forget about you. It is important that you remember that they meet loads of people – including your competitors – at various events and sites they attend, so you have to find a way to be remembered. Give them a call, meet up, ask them if they are attending the next event, or if you can help them out in any way. If you follow up your leads in person and set up an autoresponder sequence, you will have a better chance of converting them into customers.
Networking is a great way of making connections with potential clients and adding them to your sales funnels. Use this tool smartly and you will see your business grow.