Do You Need To Network Outside Of Your Office?

by Janet on April 23, 2009

I was talking to a client of mine about social media and the importance of it for her business and the subject of  in-person networking came up.  My client asked me if it was important to network outside of the Internet.    I said  yes! I realized at one point in my business, that it would be a good idea to go to local networking events.  And here is why.

My business is coaching others about Social Media and Internet Marketing.  I network on-line on Twitter, Facebook,  Linked-In, and other sites, but my target market is small business owners who do not know the power of networking on line, and need help to get started or to increase their on-line visibility.  My clients are most likely not on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media sites, or if they are, they are not actively marketing their businesses on those sites.  I decided to go to a local networking meeting and the speaker ask the group, ‘How many of you are using autoresponders’?  I was the only hand up in a room of 100 people. She went on to ask about social media sites and the same thing happened.  So, where are my clients?  In that room.  Lesson learned!

So here are a couple of tips:

1. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings. If it is to get referrals, joint venture partners or strategic partners, you want to make sure the meeting you attend is focused on your target market.  Don’t waste your time with a room full of financial planners, if you are a financial planner.  Get the hint?

2. Make sure you ask open ended questions, and don’t focus only on how many  business cards you hand out and only talking about you and your business.  Ask the other attendees about there business first and really listen to what they are saying.  You will find that they will eventually ask you what you do.  Now it is your turn!

3. Make sure that when you are asked, what do you do? You have a very well thought out simple statement of what you do and why, and what makes your doing it special or different from others who do the same thing.  Make sure a 12 year old would understand it.  You don’t want to confuse them.

4. Follow through on all the contacts you made at the meeting.  Set up coffee or phone meetings to get to know more about that persons business and how you both can help each other.  When you get referrals, make sure you contact them right away.  Respect and honor the process and your business will grow.

Have fun!

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