Undervalued and not really emphasized too much in training programs, networking is the most highly recommended actions by experts for starting an online business and for creating sales.
Here are 7 ways Networking can help you grow your business:
- Networking is a way to build your online business, get your name out there and develop new business relationships. In person, people get to see who you are and hear your story.
- It’s also a great way to practice your “elevator speech”. That’s a 10 second introduction about who you are and what you are offering. The more you do it, the better you’ll get! What’s unique about in-person networking vs. something online is that in-person networking give prospective customers the opportunity to ask you questions directly. In turn, you get a first-hand opportunity to overcome their objections. Face-to-face is something special, they get to see you, how you respond, gauge your passion and interest, see how motivated and interested you are and get excited with you.
- It can help you personally and professionally, by connecting with other businesses in your geographical area. There are numerous stories out there about how successful business owners have connected with others in their neighborhoods and communities which has led to their success. Not only can building relationships create a feeling of camaraderie but it’s also a way for you to gain other’s trust. When you are perceived as an industry expert, they will be more likely to refer to you for that particular product or service.
- It’s a good way to have a list of referrals ready for clients if needed. Some call it the “top 100 list”. That’s a list of experts and business referrals you can create to have at the ready if a client should ever need a referral. Not only can you offer support to your client by doing this but you also get the chance to bring someone else potential business. It’s a good feeling to know you are offering a warm handoff by passing your client onto someone you know and trust.
- It gets you away from the solo and sometimes isolating life of sitting at your desk. This can be especially true for introverts . . . It’s good to do, often and regularly. You can get outside, get a cup of coffee or a meal, listen to a speaker, give out some business cards, chat a little and know you have helped move your business forward.
- Connecting with others helps with the innovation aspect of your business. Innovation is what keeps many online businesses alive – it’s the ability to stay current and fresh with trends about what customers are really looking for and actually buying. Sometimes it’s questions or feedback from someone within the industry, sometimes the information comes from someone in a totally different industry. It may be customer you run into that offers valuable feedback which generates an idea. Being in a networking situation opens the possibilities up.
- It keeps your routine fresh by continually engaging you in business development. Meeting new people, having a new conversation with a person may not only lead to a potential sale, but helps you get better at your business. Talking about it, writing about it, and explaining it can help you gain clarity about what it is you are offering and why. As you get clear about it, so will your customers.