A vital part of making any business a success is knowing how to network effectively. This could be with other companies that share a common goal, with suppliers who provide you with good prices on your products, or most importantly, with potential customers who you hope will want to spend money with you.
Networking does not come naturally to everyone. It can sometimes be seen as a way of forcing your business onto people who don’t really need it, meaning that you might not be comfortable in trying to sell your product or service. However, in order for a business to grow and be successful, it is important to get your name out to as many contacts as you can. We have put together an easy to follow guide on ways that you can network, without being pushy or over-embellishing your product.
The first thing that you will need to do is to identify your potential clients. Research where those clients may gather; for instance, do they hold a monthly conference? Do they have a yearly exhibition? Do they have a particular restaurant where they like to lunch? If you can identify where these places are, it will be much easier to target your audience rather than blindly handing out business flyers to people who will immediately put them in the bin.
This is perfect if you do not like face-to-face networking. Use all of the social media channels to find your target audience and then get involved. Join in with discussions, make suggestions and join groups. Your name will gradually become recognisable to others who use those channels and so will your business. Don’t be afraid to name drop your company name every so often, just be careful not to bombard the pages with adverts, as that may discourage people from interacting with you.
You can also network by post. If you have identified specific people that you feel are within your target group, send them some promotional merchandise. Try to make it personal to them and show that you have made the effort to do your research. Include some personalised pens in the package, the perfect way to ensure that your company name will be on their desk as a reminder. A promotional pen is also a great conversation starter if you are networking face to face. Asking ‘would you like a free pen’ offers an opportunity to open a dialogue and let's face it, who doesn’t love a free gift?
After you have made contact with your potential customers, don’t forget to follow up. This could be a call or an email, or even a request to meet in person if you have been networking on social media. Send them invites to events that you may hold and don’t lose sight of your goal. It may be nice to chat and make new friends, but you must remember that your initial purpose in finding this person is to try and offer your business services.