“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
When it comes to success, this age-old adage is right on the money.
And, lucky for you, you can instantly improve the “who you know” part through networking.
Now, networking may not be new or sound exciting, but networking is one of the most effective, affordable (often free), and overlooked marketing forces available to you.
You see, when you know how to build a valuable network within your industry, it’s MUCH easier to win new customers, boost your reputation and quickly grow your business.
Read on to discover the powerful impact of networking, where to find the right people to network with and 5 helpful tips for maximizing your networking success.
The Powerful Impact Networking Has on Your Career
Did you know word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of customer spending each year?!
It’s a no-brainer.
People buy from and do business with those they know, like, and trust.
Here are some exciting benefits you’ll experience when networking…
- Get referred to speak at upcoming events - when you build professional relationships with others and genuinely provide value to them, they will more than likely return the favor - by referring you to their inner circle, whenever an opportunity arises.
- Strengthen your skillset - you’ll gain unique insights on how to improve your speaking skills by connecting with other high-achieving and supportive professional speakers.
- Boost your reputation - by regularly attending business & networking events you’ll quickly boost your reputation amongst your industry. Being seen as the go-to expert that people want to approach and get to know.
- Gain new perspectives - learning about other professional speakers’ experiences, successes, and failures will give you valuable insights and new perspectives on your career.
And, perhaps, best of all, you’ll gain a network of like-minded and supportive peers to connect with along your journey, instead of going at it all alone.
Where to Network and Who to Network With
If you want to reap the benefits of networking, you first need to know how to find the right people to network with.
There are three types of people to approach when networking…
- Low-hanging fruit
The biggest wins come from reaching out to old friends.
Because these people are simply easier to build rapport with (since you already know them).
Even if they don’t need your services, they’ll likely have people to refer you to.
Simply reach out on social media. You’ll be amazed at the results!
- Friends of friends
Ask your current friends if they know of anyone who needs your services. Be honest and direct. Often, they’ll have someone in mind and will be eager to help you both out.
Always keep this in mind…
Almost any activity or interaction can lead to business opportunities.
That being said, there’s an abundance of online and offline groups specifically designed for networking.
To get started, check out your local chamber of commerce, relevant Facebook groups, or sites like meetup.com.
Most of the groups available are industry and goal-specific. Meaning, these people are looking to connect, build mutually-beneficial relationships and share business opportunities with you.
5 Helpful Networking Tips
Now that you’re aware of the wide range of benefits of networking and where to find the right people to network with…
Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of your networking efforts:
- Have a clear goal
Always have a clear goal in mind before attending any networking event. For example - getting hired for a speaking event, finding a mentor, etc.
Doing so will save you time, energy and ensure you are making the most out of your networking efforts.
- Prepare a quick elevator pitch
A great way to achieve your networking goals is to create an elevator pitch.
It should be a brief summary (no more than 60 seconds) of who you are, what you do, the value you provide, what you’re looking for, etc. Practice this pitch in the mirror until you can clearly and concisely get these main points across.
This will help ensure your conversations stay on track and are beneficial.
- Provide value
The law of reciprocity is a powerful force.
You’ll get the most out of networking by creating mutually beneficial relationships.
Always be on the lookout for ways to help others and provide value. Simply ask questions about what the other person is looking for. And provide a solution whenever a relevant problem or need rises.
By providing value to others, without an agenda, you’ll be far more likely to get referrals and take advantage of new business opportunities.
- Think long-term
Building long-term relationships, with relevant business owners and professionals, is the key to growing your business.
Even if someone doesn’t have anyone to refer at the event, they’ll likely have opportunities for you down the road.
And, who knows, you might just create a life-long friendship with an interesting person in the process.
- Follow up
Just like with new customers, you always want to follow up with people after connecting at a networking event.
Didn’t get their personal info?
Simply shoot them a message on Linkedin!
Don’t be shy, these people want to hear from you (why do you think they went to the networking event in the first place?).
When you reach out to them, keep it simple, brief and personal. HINT - try recalling something that you discussed at the event.
Networking is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal.
And, when you know where to network, who to network with, and how to network effectively, you can quickly expand your reach and accelerate your business’s growth.