In reviewing my upcoming calendar week; I noticed I have two networking events this week. That got me to thinking how very important networking is to my business.
At a networking event I meet new people to the area who may need my services or the services to another of my business contacts. Remember to keep good referral sources, if they need an inspector or carpenter I can whip out my smart phone and give that person the name of some of my business peers. These peers in turn may at some day in the future refer me to someone they know or just met.
Networking will increased the number of people you know. The more people who know you, the more your name can be referred out for your expertise.
The best way to network is to join different organizations or be present at many functions.
Through my grandchildren I have access to the PTA and other school sponsored events, Boy Scouts of America and Bible School class mates. In time there will be soccer, baseball, basketball and football contacts while I sit in the bleachers having a great time.
Through my church there are the people in my bible class and congregation. When we moved we joined churches near our home. I now have two other churches that I still keep in contact with and visit on some Sundays. I sometimes visit my mother-in-law’s church and I have made many new friends and contacts there.
Churches are great for networking, each having different events throughout the year. I make it a point to be at them and talk to as many people as possible.
Through my city I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce and hold two city committee positions. Most Chambers hold monthly networking events; mine holds two monthly reoccurring events as well as annual events. The city sponsors Coffee with Cops as a way to meet citizens of the city. The police department also sponsors Blue Santa and many other fund raising events that any Realtor can join. The Parks and Recreation Department also sponsors many events for each holiday throughout the year.
Networking doesn’t stop there. You can join the Kiwanis, Rotary, Christian Women Organizations, motorcycle or bicycling clubs, YMCA, Yoga and Karate dojos.
Please don’t try to do everything in this post; but find what is comfortable and affordable for you and do that.
Networking is not just about busting in and handing out your card. It about meeting new people and having fun. People love to talk about themselves and I let them and I pay rapt attention. By paying attention you learn about that person’s likes and dislikes. At the end of the conversation I always tell them I will look them up on LinkedIn or Face Book and invite them because they were so much fun and interesting. AND I ask for that very important tool… the business card.
The business card will give me the business address, phone number and email address that my contact sheet requires. On the back of the card I will jot down notes that will help me remember that person, i.e. “the guy who survived skydiving when his chute didn’t open”.
Armed with the address I can send a person a handwritten note when I get home and express how I enjoyed meeting them. The following week I can call and ask if they received my note and maybe set up a coffee date.
That address will also allow me to do a drop by at their place of business to drop off a little something.
By this time this person will remember me.
And that my friend is what it is all about!