Network Smarter

If you are spending a lot of time and energy attending networking events and you have not gained any new business, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your networking efforts.

You are probably not going to get business when you network with strangers.  If you meet someone and talk with them for a few minutes and then hand them a card it is not going to generate business.  Businesses are not built on a few seconds of contact.  Rather businesses are built on relationship.

Instead of spending your time networking briefly with many strangers, try to be smarter with your networking.

It is your current and previous satisfied customers who can provide you with new prospective customers.  Ask these people for one referral of someone who would be interested in the goods or services you provide.  Then contact the referral and mention that your customer suggested you call them.

You want to stay in touch with your present and previous customers so that you are the first person who comes to mind when they have need of the product or services you provide.  You can keep in touch by means of an email or a short note asking if there is anything you can do for them.  You might want to give them a call and have a short chat.  Ask about the family, etc.  Keep it casual.  Keep open the lines of communication.

Keep a mailing list.  You may want to send previous and current customers newsletters, ezines, email and coupons as a way to communicate and stay in touch.

Stay fresh in the minds of your largest clients by inviting them to lunch or by ordering something special for them and having it delivered.  They, in turn, will tell others about what you have done and how pleased they are with your product or service.  This in turn may generate other customers.

Join and become active in some non-business groups.  There are all types of organizations available such as social clubs, religious organizations, and activities such as recreational, musical, athletic, etc.  Establish relationships with the people in these groups.  It will give you a ready market to promote your product or services.  If your contact is not in need of your services, perhaps he knows someone who will be interested in doing business with you.

Networking is all about getting more people to know you and what you do.  It is about people learning to trust you and realize that you are knowledgeable in your field.  It is about getting people who already know you to introduce you and your service or products to others they know.

You may not realize it, but you have a base that you can tap into when you are looking for new prospects.  Think about your colleagues, mentors, friends and family and the connections they already have.  They can introduce you to their contacts who may have use for the product or service you can provide.