Networking in one of the most personal ways to grow your business. Since business is about one to one connections, bring in a physical place with someone who is your potential customer is a prime location for bringing it all together.
We have asked our small business advisor network one question last month, “What’s your view on Networking in Business?” Their replies are below and have not been edited in anyway.
I have never been a good “networker” in the conventional sense. Meaning I do not do well with Chamber of Commerce event, Rotary club, etc, etc… I have grown my network and business through making calls, referrals, and in the pass having a good online presence (different business). However things are changing fast, social media, CRM’s, planning software online, and with no one answering there phone – we are trying new and exciting ways to reach our future clients. Working with a professional to help automate our processes, build a web presence, and finally designing a social media campaign that helps prospects take action. We are just getting started but we can already see the future results and are very excited. Yes, it will cost more then our old way of marketing, but it will pay dividends for many years to come.
Tyler Burtch – Burtch Robinson & Associates
Wow, that’s a tough one. I can’t say enough about the power of face to face connections. That is so important in networking. Meeting people and having these personal touch points can really impact the success of sales and the ability to do business with someone. That being said, to get some reach (we can’t talk to everyone personally or spend all of our time out networking) we need to do outreach via advertising and marketing. To me- the perfect combination is to target prospects via marketing and then as much as possible follow up personally. Networking gives you new prospects to put into the sales funnel- as well as strengthens current relationships.
Kim King, Limelight Communications Group
For our retail situation it is a combination of networking and advertising that works. The networking is often between customers (one likes a product or service and sends in a friend) and business-to-business (knowing what your competitor stocks and working with that knowledge in referrals). Our most effective advertising has been educational columns, similar to blogs, in local and provincial papers. We find that, paired with strategic paid ads and informative social media posts, to be the best mix.
Cathy Reid, Absolutely Fabulous Bed, Bath For Your Home
I feel that networking produces better results as you are in direct contact with possible leads. You get to make a lasting impression, and can build on that through follow up. As well, you can ask questions and get a real feel about other challenges business owners are experiencing (perhaps like yourself) and get ideas to help with problem solving to move your business ahead.
Wanda Beattie, Atlantic Healing Hemp
For me, Networking has been a way to stay grounded and connected to the communities in which I serve. I approach any networking event not as an event to sell my services, but rather to find out what the business community is up to and the needs in which they may have that my company can serve. If you go into any conversation with the sole purpose of selling yourself and what you do, you will not be successful. It’s a human communication, which means you need to connect with the people you’re speaking to on a personal level before you can even begin to talk business.
Shaun Whynacht, Blue Cow Creative