#AskMarcAnything | As business owners, we are always looking for ways to build more business opportunities. Typically this is done in the form of advertising your product or services through print media, digital advertising, etc. However we tend to forget the power of networking in person. The face-to-face interaction that allows us to build direct connections with other businesses and consumers. Here are my $0.02 on the power of networking.
Power of Networking
Lack of Networking
As business owners, we are always looking for ways to build more business opportunities. Typically this is done in the form of advertising your product or services through print media, digital advertising, etc. However we tend to forget the power of networking in person. The face-to-face interaction that allows us to build direct connections with other businesses and consumers.
The majority of business owners do not network with customers or other businesses. This needs to change. Let’s break down why networking works and why it is crucial to you as a business owner.
Why Networking Works
At the core, networking works because it places you face to face with customers or other businesses. They get to know who you are and that is when a relationship is built. All business is built around relationships. Period.
How you network will also affect your results. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you try to focus on a few people or focus on speaking to everyone? I myself tend to focus on only a few people at networking events. I try to dig deeper into who they are, why they are at the event, what they are about.
As a business, you can network at events focused around potential clients. For example, as a real estate agent you can network at a variety of events. One of my favorite tactics in meeting high-net worth individuals that lead to investment clients is attending business conferences outside of real estate. For example, I like to attend the Financial Leadership Summit where CFOs from around the country gather to discuss financial trends. I in turn meet CFOs who are high-net worth individuals, or can connect me to high-net worth individuals, which in turn usually leads to me getting one or two new investor clients.
As a business, you can also focus on B2B networking. Networking with other business professionals helps build awareness to your business. You may exchange referrals back and forth or you might discover a new income revenue stream. For example, as a property manager I love to network with real estate agents that do not handle property management. In fact, 95% of all real estate agents do not handle property management. By networking with them, I am able to build a referral network of agents sending me their landlord clients.
Opportunities - Sales or Collaboration
The main reason I am networking as often as I can and putting out so much content online is because of opportunities. Doors become available and open to you. And you never know when one of these opportunities presents a high income potential or change in direction of your business.
Look for the opportunities when networking. Now don’t mistake this with trying to make a sale. Most of the time you will not make a sale when networking unless you're a products business at an event with a booth. Networking forces you to meet new people.. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I do a podcast because it allows me to get in front of people I would have likely never met.
As you meet other business professionals, think of ways you can collaborate. A video together, a podcast together, maybe flyers at each other’s place of business. By collaborating with other businesses, you can also reduce your advertising costs by splitting the costs equally.
Ok. So I gave you an example of what I like to do. For new customers, I attend conferences outside of my industry and to meet other professionals I attend industry events such as the Young Professionals Network.
What if you’re business is a gym? If I operated a gym or was a fitness trainer, I would attend health and wellness events where the attendees are there to learn how to improve their lives. Attend conferences held by Tony Robbins. I would attend bodybuilding events where competitors always need trainers. At the same time, I would attend events specific to fitness trainers. This helps build a network to refer clients back and forth, or collaborate with another professional. Maybe you focus on weight-lifting and another coach focuses on cardio. Collaborate on a training program or educational videos on why the two compliment each other.
What if your business is a restaurant? Attend food fairs where you can get samples directly to consumers. I would also attend events held by chamber of commerce or other business organizations. Offer free hosting for their next event.