Do you worry about Networking? Even seasoned Business Owners occasionally worry about networking, so don’t worry if you have that feeling of dread right now. But get networking right it can make a massive difference to your positioning in the business market!
Before I share some tips for getting your networking established, here are some of my favourite quotes about networking:
It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living. – Bob Burg
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Networking – What to Consider
Would you do business with someone you don’t know, or didn’t like or trust? NO! So in turn how can you expect people to do business with you if they don’t know you?
Building relationships with people is important because, not only do you see whether your first judgements were correct, you grow to like, trust and respect that person and want to support them as well as the fact that you want that person to get to know you – so they can support you also. It all goes hand-in-hand doesn’t it?
People do business with those they know, like and trust.
Be clear on who your want to connect with
If you have a niche, start to investigate where your niche do their networking. There could be industry related organisations, which hold events such as exhibitions or conferences. There could be meet-ups around the country. Source them and then attend as a visitor to get a feel for them.
Not Making the Time to Network – Big Mistake!
Working for yourself, time is of the essence, however, sparing the time to go to networking meetings every month will help to put your business on the map, help you develop your presentation skills; build your confidence in presenting your business to prospective clients and in yourself.
Ring-fence the time in your diary and respect your own business – it will only continue to grow if you continue to lay the foundations and grow your connections.
Your clients should respect that you are a business and are a growing one; any client who values their business should understand this. Have updates with your clients and plan ahead with them when you are out of the office, even better, organise your associates to support your clients when you are out for the day.
On a slightly sour note, you need to go networking as what happens if you lose a client and need to fill that space with another; if you haven’t taken the time to network – its much harder to fill that slot.
Networking online should not replace networking in person, although many VAs take on clients having only ever met via social media.
However, there still has been the process of building the trust. Get clear about the outcomes you want to achieve as a result of attending networking meetings over a period of time, perhaps work over a three month period at a time and ensure that online networking forms part of your strategy.
What Do You DO? – Get Clear About What You’re Offering!
I don’t think I know a single VA who has not been stumped by this question as some point in their networking. When promoting your expertise at a networking meeting you need to be clear about the benefits of using your VA services not the features so that you are answering the question “What’s in it for me?”.
When at a networking event and someone asks you what you do, be careful that you are not going into sales mode with them and start telling them what they could need…what they want to know is, who you work with, what services you provide and how your clients benefit from all of this.
Follow Up and One to Ones
The key to any good networking is in the follow up and in getting to know each of the other person in more in-depth. If someone has shown an interest, offered you a referral or you have offered to send them a piece of information, make sure you follow up. Otherwise it doesn’t create the best impression and you could end up losing business to another VA.
You can also follow up with them by connecting and conversing via social media. The more the two of you understand about one another’s businesses, the more likely the trust builds and referrals are generated.
You might also like to read my 3 Tips for Successful Business Networking blog.
Next week, we will start to look at Social Media and how you can use it in your VA business.
Amanda Johnson of Your Executive Secretary Limited is a licensed Trainer of the VACT. If you would like to book yourself on the next Taster Session in your area then please click here or if you would like to book a free 30 minute breakthrough call then click here.