Who you surround yourself with matters. Who you know matters. Your net worth will ultimately be determined by your network.
I know we’ve heard all these things a million times and I also feel it is important for them to be repeated over and over again. You cannot get anywhere in life without someone helping you along the way. Yes I know, you are self made. You did it alone. But I am sure there was one other person in the room or around you encouraging you along the way.
Networking works! You don’t need to know thousands of people but you do need to know the right people.
Here are 5 quick tips to successfully network without wasting valuable time and money:
- Start with one event a month. A lot of people I consult with haven’t been to a networking event and tell me they are a waste of time. How would they know that without attending one?
- Choose the right event. How do you choose the right event? Go with someone who has been to one of these events in the past. It is always a good sign if someone is willing to return to an event hosted by the same parties. That means the person got value out of the event and you will too.
- Bring lots of business cards. I had someone say to me recently “business cards are so old school.” Okay riddle me this: if we all pull out our phones and enter the person’s name and number while drinking excessive champagne, how do you remember who this person is the next day? Business cards are valuable because they state the person’s title, email, phone number, and sometimes even a picture. I like to take all the business cards I collected out the next day and send a nice to meet you email!
- Speak to people at the events. You did it! You made it to the event. Now get out there and speak to people. Talk about the music, talk about the drinks, talk about the weather, and then introduce yourself. Tell everyone and anyone you meet what you do and give out your business cards. I can’t tell you the amount of clients I have retained just by word of mouth. Free marketing is the best marketing.
- Follow up. This is the most important part. You can collect a 100 business cards but if you don’t do anything with them, you have wasted your time. I usually wait until the next day and then email everyone I met a quick nice to meet you note. The email is very short and to the point, something along the lines of “Hi Sam, it was so nice to meet you last night at the networking event. I will definitely keep you in mind should someone require your services. Please let me know if I can help in anyway as well.” Short and sweet and to the point. An email list is your most valuable asset as you grow.
Growing your business is hard enough but networking can definitely make it less challenging. You don’t have to go at it alone. Face to face meetings are still very valuable to me and create trust that emails, phones, and texts could never create. When you are vying for someone’s business, trust is the most important part of it.
Cheers and happy networking! I hope to meet you at the next event and I will definitely bring my old school business cards with me.