Networking Events Stimulate Growth
The Internet creates a platform of connectivity. New businesses are created every day and think the only way to increase their business is through the Internet. They’re wrong. Unless one has an investor willing to fund a marketing campaign or an individual already encompasses a large budget themselves, it’s just not realistic to start building your business on the Internet.
If you are a service based business like myself, sometimes it is hard to get that first client, or maybe it was the first client that drove you to start a business, but you can’t get a second client. The absolute best engagement one can achieve is face to face. You can gain trust, learn about a potential clients needs, and leave a longer lasting impression.
Let me be selfish and talk about myself and my experience with this. I started my own web design business less than two months ago, I am two months away from graduating from Full Sail University with an M.S. in Internet Marketing, and I have taken some advice from an amazing salesman named Richard Plinke. You can check out his website! He also has two books , and there are more to come. If you want a comical take on selling your products and perspective, pick them up, you’ll be sure to get a couple laughs. Links are on his website.
Essentially, what I’m trying to say is I understand multiple aspects of marketing and attaining clients. The Internet side is amazing, don’t get me wrong, however when you are starting and the budget it low, networking events are key.
1. Start by Meeting People
When you go to a networking event you get in the zone sometimes, especially in front of people you just met. Sell, sell, sell! This flat out does not work. If there is a commercial, try and be creative and make something memorable. Ultimately, your goal needs to be the follow up conversations with other people there. Some networking groups are like families, and you need to slowly work your way in.
2. Recurrence of Visits – Keep Going!
Find out which networking groups are ones you like, then you should continue to go there. Like I previously said, some networking groups are like families and it takes a while to work your way in. Each group is different, and you really have to know yourself to find the right fit for you. Time management is key so you can’t go to all of them!
As you start to go more and more work in what I call 1:1’s (one to one). A 1:1 is a great way to build relationships and trust. You learn more about the other person, their history, and their business. In return they get to learn about you. If someone knows you they’re much more likely to refer someone to you when they have a need.
Here are a couple of tips when it comes to a 1:1. First and foremost, don’t do all the talking. I usually try and learn about the other person first. It shows you care, and if you’re new it could impress them. Also, try and paint a picture of who your ideal client is. You’re not necessarily trying to make a sale to the individual you are doing a 1:1 with, however they may know someone who could be in need of your product or service.
4. Refer Business
Play your part. Be the guy or gal that does everything they can to earn business for other people you network with. If you give someone else business, they will work their butt off to get it to you – in most occasions. It takes a few months to build trust, but as you break down the barriers and refer some business, it will come to you.
5. Perspective is Everything
I’m taking this from one of the many lessons Richard Plinke instills in people during his sales seminars. If you go out of your house in a bad mood, and have a bad outlook, the day is going to suck. There is not going to be some magic “lift me up” to make you smile. You need to stay ahead of the bad things and remain positive.
When you’re positive and have a good outlook you build confidence. When you have confidence, you sell. The ultimate goal is to sell, and if you think you’re not a salesperson you’re wrong. Everybody is a salesperson.
These 5 simple steps I provided will help you build a business from the beginning. The Internet is a great place, and I have plenty of suggestions how to start out with that as well, but investing money in it is not the smartest option early on.
When it comes to social media create your profiles early and post. This way when you put yourself out there networking you are easy enough to find. That’s all that matters for now, how findable you are. Once you start turning your face to face meetings to social media conversions, you have a steady flow of customers, and have a little extra money sitting around you can think about building your online presence, and not any sooner.
Entrepreneurs fight for success through hard work and dedication. Make sure you understand what your goals are, and how you plan on achieving them. Without a plan you are nothing. Make sure your business has the best chance it possibly can to succeed.