Networking. It has always been the key to prosperity and growth, especially in the service sector, but now, in the post COVID - 19 (Coronavirus) world, it is even more crucial for success.
Let's talk about what networking. Most people understand the basic concept and we have all heard the same set of basic (and sometimes ineffective) tips:
Don't talk too much about yourself
Offer to be of help
While these are great when properly executed, how many people put it into practice? More importantly, with the emergent need to socially distance ourselves, how many events will we be actually attending? Networking isn't dead, in fact, even in these times, the best referrals will come from relationships and those who are consistently and persistently seeking out new clients are the ones most apt to open doors for you.
This makes having a clear understanding of networking, being able to adapt to the current social norms and making use of current technologies more important than ever. I believe that, for the short term, traditional networking is over. Too few people, myself included, aren't willing to risk their health and well-being to gather in a room full of strangers. It just isn't prudent. So, what do we do? Now, more than ever, having a solid Influence Network (I.N.) is crucial. Here are some modern-day networking tips that could help you grow your business and solidify your I.N.
WHAT'S YOUR I.N.?
Your Influence Network or I.N. is the group of professionals that offer complimentary services to your client profile without being direct competition
This I.N. group will refer to each other as trusted partners, increasing conversion rates
They will not always be in the same industry
Let's take a look at a few sample I.N. groups.
Real Estate Agent:
Other Realtors (neighboring territories or in different niches)
APS (Adult Protective Services)
Real Estate Agents
CADC (Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor)
Community Resource Organization
Home Care Agency:
Estate/Elder Law Attorney
APS (Adult Protective Services)
If you notice, these are very different services I chose for examples, they require different licenses, serve drastically different populations but still have overlapping potential referral opportunities. Creating your I.N. is always about FIRST understanding your client and what their needs are (and potentially will be), and who would be needed to resolve those needs when you cannot.
CHOOSE YOUR EVENTS
Once we have identified who's our I.N. group, we need to figure out where we could meet with them. It is just as important to understand where your I.N. Group congregates. Keep in mind, networking events tend to attract the job seeker, not the ideal I.N. group member. Keep in mind the following when selecting an event:
Try to choose events that target specific industries
Look for events that cater to your I.N. group
Get information about the event, not all networking events are created equal
Have business cards, but don't discount technology. There are many apps that will allow you to instantly share your business card with others and create an opportunity to gather secondary contact information such as a cell number or social media account
Know your value proposition. Be able to sum up who you help and the value you bring in a couple of sentences (30 - 45 seconds)
Do not make blanket help offers, try to be specific. There is a difference between saying "Just let me know if there is anything I could help you with" and saying "If you or any of your clients have a question about (insert specific topic here), feel free to give me a call, I will be happy to help."
Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. Why waste your time networking if you will not try to create, build and strengthen the right relationships.
CREATE YOUR OWN EVENTS
Many people are home right now. Some are even trying to prepare and grow their businesses. Take advantage of social media platforms and other technology to create your own groups, meetings and private events to maintain contact with and even grow your I.N. group. It doesn't take much to start and with technology being what it is, the only limits are the ones we create for ourselves. Online groups and events are trending, what's stopping you from developing your business?
To learn more about 1 to 1 coaching, strategy sessions, or to schedule a discovery call to see if we are a good fit for your company, visit us on the web www.thebrionesgroup.com
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