Nine Networking Tips to Speed Sales and Referrals

Networking is an essential part of building your business. Whether you network locally, nationally, or internationally, there are some tips that are common to all businesses.

  1. Be crystal clear about what you do and how people can use you. Also know exactly who your ideal client is in case you’re asked. If you don’t do this, you’ll leave people scratching their heads about you and they won’t know how to connect with you even if they wanted to.
  2. Follow up like crazy. Write on the back of the business card what you talked about and email the new contact the next day. Offer a free, short session over the phone to see how you might help each other. (I don’t’ recommend meeting for coffee; it’s too time-consuming.) I followed up several times with a prospect who couldn’t afford me and who then turned around and referred a friend to me. I would have never gotten that referral without following up several times.
  3. Be in a giving frame of mind. Ask the people you meet how you can help them. You might be able to make an introduction, share a tip, or give a referral. Always ask people who their ideal client is and keep a note in your database.
  4. Be open-minded. Don’t just look for prospects who could become clients. Look for potential partners, vendors, and friends. I will likely end up doing a terrific project with a “competitor” because we were open-minded and saw how we complemented each other with different specialties within the same field of business.
  5. Bring an agenda to a national or international networking opportunity such as a conference. Know who will be there and invite them weeks in advance (so they can adjust airfare and hotel if necessary) to a one-on-one meeting to discuss possible partnerships.
  6. Face-to-face trumps all other marketing methods. When possible, be visible. Go to meetings, accept speaking engagements, volunteer, and display your products at an exhibitor table when they are available.
  7. Keep going to the same group over and over again rather than flitting from group to group once. It takes three to six months before people get to know you well enough to refer you. Choose a giving community that best matches your ideal client, and if for some reason you haven’t gotten business after nine months, cut your losses and find another group.
  8. Use tools such as an ezine, FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay in touch and keep you visible once you’ve met in person. Friend, follow, and connect with each entrepreneur you’ve met at your networking meetings.
  9. Offer something free that is compelling so people can get a low-risk taste of your product or service. A free newsletter that helps people make money, a free workshop or teleseminar, or a free no-strings one-on-one phone session are three options that work great to help people get to know you better, which will increase referrals.

Try these power networking ideas to bring new clients into your business.

For more networking tips, grab your copy of my book “Get More Clients”