Social Media, Forums and Video chat have made networking online easier than ever. But there’s still a lot to be said for good old fashioned in-person networking. And forming relationships offline can be as beneficial to your sales as all that social networking.
So here are some choice tips for networking, in real life.
Leave No Stone Unturned
It’s important to meet as many people as you can, not just people you think can help leverage your sales. Co-work spaces, coffee shops, or even within your current circle of friends, don’t be afraid to speak up and let people know about your business objectives. You’d be surprised how quickly word of mouth can spread. You never know who has a brother or a cousin looking for the exact service you provide, or if someone might be the perfect business partner you didn’t know you were looking for.
Find Your Spot
Networking can be awkward. So if you’re meeting someone to talk shop, make sure you choose a spot where you’re comfortable. Maybe it’s at a conference, or maybe it’s over a cup of coffee. Either way, you want to make sure it’s a place you feel 100% like yourself. That way you’re more likely to shine as a potential hire, or partner.
Join a Club
Your high school guidance counselor was right- joining a club is a great way to meet people and to improve your resume. And things haven’t changed since then. There are tons of great options, like Meetups, where you can find likeminded professionals to help you solve business issues, and maybe, advance your career.
Don’t Shy Away from Industry Events
Industry events aren’t always the most fun but they’re the Mecca of networking. But the sheer number of people there can make it tough to get enough time with everyone you want to speak to, so make sure you have a pitch prepared- a quick explanation of the services/benefits you offer to a potential client. Also make sure you have a memorable business card handy.
Sometimes, Give it Away
There may come a time when you’re offered an opportunity to do pro-bono work for someone. If you have the time, and the undertaking is reasonable, go for it. It’s a great way to make connections, and build your portfolio while building your reputation as a good community member.
Be The Expert
You’re the expert in your field, so get out there and show it. See if you can host a workshop at your local community center or at a local college. The more you can speak to your profession and advise others, the more credible you become. It’s like unlocking a new level in the real world.
How do you network offline? And do you think it’s helped your bottom line? Tell us below.