Word Warriors Public Speaking Club

Monday, July 7, 2008

Networking! Why should I network? What can it do for me? How exactly does it work? (Part 1)

Networking is the reason people join industry organizations, attend fund raisers, and go to seminars. Millions of dollars a year are spent networking. Why would business owners, corporations (private and public) and other organizations network? The goal when networking is to a) meet someone you can help b) meet someone who can help you and c) to promote yourself through a short no more than 5 minute conversation.

Why should you network? You should network because you are building a brand. Whether you are a business owner, employee or an individual supporting a cause. You are your brand! You need to promote your brand without actually giving a sales pitch for your product. Deals are brokered everyday through networking. Networking is a way to meet people through friends, organizations and seminars. This is how you meet people who already have something in common with you, i.e. same friend, same organization, same topic, etc.

You may meet someone who you can't help but maybe they know someone who can. This is the basis for http://www.linkedin.com. Linked in is a social networking tool except the difference between linked in and other social networking websites is that it is made where you have to know someone to meet someone. This prevents unwanted spam and other emails from people you don't know.

Enough about linked in, let's get back to answering the question: Why should you network? You never know when that person will need your service or product. If you were to try a service or product, wouldn't you rather purchase it from someone you know or a friend knows. This is how a trusted networking connection is made in the business world.

What can networking do for you? Networking can help you build or grow your business, lower your costs by meeting other distributors, and provide you with more customers. These customers trust you and are loyal to you because they have put a name with a face. Remember, you are your brand. While I am hesitant to post my picture due to the nature of my business, I do it from time to time because I want people to know that I give everything a personal touch and genuinely care about each contact that I make.

There is nothing that I don't oversee in my business since I want to ensure that each customer not only enjoys their product or service but also that they come back as a repeat customer. In my line of work, usually customers are a one-time deal but what people don't realize is that they should keep in touch with their customers because their customers know other people who need that service.

Networking is a very important tool in the world of promotion. Without networking, businesses would be left to cold calls and door-to-door sales. By the way, most cold calls or door-to-door sales have a success rate of almost 10 out of 100 contacts. That is an unacceptable number to me and that should also be an unacceptable number to you. (Part 2 to be continued next week)

Here is a tip for this week:

"Join one of your local community organizations, i.e. chamber of commerce, rotary club, soroptomists, lions club, VFW, American Legion, Masons, etc. and offer to speak at their next event or just show up with business cards in hand. Before you do make sure that you prepare yourself to answer questions regarding your business. After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression"

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