I’ve talked with many established distributors who’ve been hit really hard by the pandemic. Especially for those who did well before, this can be disheartening to say the least. If that’s you, and you’re facing having to start over, I believe networking can be very beneficial. Breaking the routine, getting out of the house and start hanging out with other business people will help you open up your mind, start to get the word out about your business, and become known in your business community.
In this short video I share the benefits and tips on how to be effective.
With that said, not all networking groups are the same. Of course, you will have to do some research to find which one is best for you. There are many out there and they usually let you go a couple of times without having to join their membership so you can check them out and meet more people. You may think that these groups are a waste of time because only owners of the smallest businesses go to these things, but that’s not entirely true, and at the end of the day, you have more chances of meeting new clients if you ho out where business people gather, than staying in the comfort of your home, where nothing is happening.
Tips on Networking Effectively
Since you want to be intentional in your networking efforts, there are a few a things to keep in mind.
• First and foremost, you’re not going to go out and pitch everybody you meet. You will have a chance to introduce yourself with your 30 second memorized “what you do and who you do it for”, but don’t take it any further than that. At this point you want to establish rapport and get to know the other person.
• Look for opportunities to help in community activities. Chambers rely on volunteers to carry out their functions, so offer to join a committee or help in nay way you can.
• Be helpful. Offer advise, refer people to service providers or businesses you know, if you are able to, even if you won’t make any money. Doing this will earn you a reputation of being helpful and trustworthy, and business will come to you.
• Even though there might be only a small group of people that could be good clients for you, you would never get to meet them if you stayed home. These non-audience ones might know the bigger fish you’re interested in meeting, and some times they can connect you with people in their entourage that might be good prospects for you.
• Let’s touch on pitching again. Avoid unsolicited pitching at all costs. Do not do any pitching. If you do, you will be known as that person who people run away from when they see them coming down the hall. You don’t want to be that person.
• Be pleasurable, respectful, considerate, and friendly, in an authentic way.
Have a System in Place
Being methodical is important to be as efficient as possible and save time, a simple system is all you need. As soon as you’re back on your desk, take all the business cards you collected and do the following:
• Enter the info on your CRM system
• Like their social media pages
• Connect with them on LinkedIn and reference the conversation you had earlier when you met. Again, no pithing
• Send them a short “nice to meet you” email briefly introducing your company, make sure your email signature is current and looks professional.
Use Self Promos That Impress
It goes without saying that you’ll be handing self promos left and right at these meetings. A few consideratiosn:
• Choose something that’s easy to carry and can replace your business card. In my early distributor days, I used to love the credit card size mints, I received calls months after I met a particular person because they kept the piece. They commented they thought it was unusual and creative, and they wanted to use my company when the time came. Late on I did same style sanitizers, those were very popular too.
• Don’t give any note pads, sticky notes, or pens. Not that those things are not useful, but there is nothing original and unexpected about them. Many other business people hand these out, the last thing you want is give something unmemorable like that.
When I first started in my business I joined the chamber. Most people were not my ideal client, but I met so many business people that helped me get my first orders and gain momentum in my business, it was totally worth it. I never went out pitching anyone but I quickly became known for what I did and I got a many referrals just because I was known in the community.
I hope this was helpful!