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Do You Network Face-to-Face or Online Only

Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

Picture1Where do you market? If you’re like  lot of entrepreneurs, you find it much easier to simply network from the comfort of your keyboard than to wear something other than sweatpants and slippers, right? Well, if you’re not “out there” shaking hands, passing out business cards and talking about your business face-to-face, you’re missing out on some great ways to network and grow your business; there is no better way to interact with potential clients and business partners than with face-to-face interaction.

Even with the ease and speed of social media networking, to truly brand yourself and your business you need to have face-to-face interaction.  Networking at business events means you will have to perfect your “elevator pitch,” shake hands and hand out business cards, it is a great way to meet potential clients.

What you do when you’re at networking events – whether Chambers of Commerce, industry-specific events and seminars – establishes you as a credible business person. One of the main goals when you’re networking will be to set yourself up as an expert in your field – a person with whom like-minded entrepreneurs will want to interact, use as a referral source and (bottom-line) do business with.

When you’re at networking events you’re not there to merely tell people what you can do for them, you want to know what their pain points are. Ask questions, draw them out. Keep this information in the back of your mind – and make a note on the back of their business card so you can use it for follow up once you get back to your office. Just as your social media updates shouldn’t be all sales pitch, neither should your interactions with potential business partners.

Implement these steps into your online and offline networking strategies:

  1. Always be prepared. It’s a good motto in business and in life. You never know when you will run into a potential business partner. Always be equipped with business cards and a firm handshake.
  2. Who are the major players at the meeting? Are there specific individuals or specific industries to which you’d like to connect? Know your audience then you can tailor your pitch and make certain you make the most of the meeting.
  3. Be more interested in the person with whom you’re connecting than you are with selling your products. Make a great first impression – be the person that they remember as being interested in what they have to say rather than what you have to sell.
  4. Be enthusiastic about the individual you’re meeting. Compliment their accomplishments. Ask to connect with them online, comment on their status updates and blog posts.
  5. As an entrepreneur you will likely know instinctively when the time is right to push for a business meeting, or even a get-to-know-you coffee. If you know someone who knows the potential business connection, ask for a referral or don’t be afraid to name drop, “Hey, Ms. XYZ, we both know Mr. ABC and he mentioned you do incredible work.”

Visit a few networking events to see which one might be the best fit for both your personality and for meeting the type of business owners you need to help your business grow. Bottom line, you are the key to the success your business enjoys – be the best ambassador for your business and get out from behind the keyboard! 

 

Comments

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Ivy Solis

It's funny because I was just thinking about this the other day. In the world of digital business relationships, one can tend to get stuck focusing all their efforts on merely online networking and marketing.

However, it's important to do both in order to give your business that "little something extra" that could potentially help you build quality face-to-face relationships which in turn could bring in more business.

Robbi

Lol Thanks Mary. I know I get hung up on elevator speech and it's such a daunting task to say who you are and what you do in 30 seconds!

Mary Schmidt

Of course, you always need to do both. Online is a start, but nothing beats F2F. And, don't get too hung up on polishing that elevator pitch (we've got short buildings here in NM, anyway. :) People respond to passion.

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