What is Your Networking Strategy?

networking-strategyI often hear people say “I am just not good at networking” or “I really do not know how to network”. The problem is that the ability to network in person or online requires a strategy. If you are not good at networking, that means you have not yet created a strategy.

As entrepreneurs and small business owners we do not have the luxury of attending every single networking event available. In order to create your strategy you first must be very clear on who your ideal client is.

Once you are clear on your ideal client you will be able to select where to network and how to approach the event. For example, if you were seeking to date a specific person or type of person you would want to go where they hang out. Socialize where they socialize and go relax where they go to relax. The activity of networking can be thought of in a similar way.

If it feels weird to think about your networking activity in this manner, think of networking as building up your Social Capital. It is the relationships that you build through networking that become your building blocks for your business growth and ultimate success.

Ask yourself these questions to get moving right now to help you begin to create your networking strategy:

  1. Who are the people you wish to work with? Everyone is the wrong answer.
    Be very specific in identifying your ideal client group or niche.
  2. Where do these ideal clients spend their time both online and in person?
  3. Name five specific people who fit the first question and then apply it to the second question. How will you meet them? Where will you meet them? What are they interested in?

A strategy I teach my corporate clients is to map out through the course of the year specific functions, events, dinners, luncheons, etc. where their ideal clients are gathered, and make room in your schedule for these functions.

The goal is to connect and establish a relationship. It is not to sell to anyone anything.

Over time and by being present and establishing a relationship you are developing a trusting relationship. Then you will become a trusted resource for referrals. A referral still remains the single best way to get new clients.

These methods are successful in both online and in person networking. It is essential to be present in both worlds. Do not lose yourself into thinking everything is online now. Nothing replaces the face-to-face networking and warm referral methods derived from this process.

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified personal and executive coach who resides in Stamford, CT.

Strategy For Growing My Business Last Night

Business Accountant - Networking StrategyMy strategy for growing my business last night was to attend a networking event.  Here is a story I heard about and witnessed first hand. Stephanie is a CPA and is just opening up her own private practice – about three months ago. She has always worked for larger organizations in their accounting or tax departments. When Stephanie learned of the networking event, she knew this was something she needed to do and at the same time she was scared to death of being surrounded by people she did not know.

She decided to call up Nicole who had opened up her own beauty salon in town about two years ago. From what Stephanie heard, Nicole had a great network and her beauty salon was doing well. Stephanie had lost touch with Nicole since she left the larger Beauty Salon to open her own two years ago. The conversation went something like this:

“Hello Nicky’s Beautiful Ladies, how may I help you?”

“Hi, is Nicole there, this is Stephanie”

“Hi, yes, this is Nicole.”

“Hi, Nicole, you might not remember me, I knew you from the Big Old School Beauty Shop.”

“Oh sure sweetie, two color process treatments, highlights, and the bangs in the front and long but neat everywhere else.”

“Yes, Wow.”

“So, what’s new, need an appointment?”

“Oh, no, I was just calling about a meeting tonite at 5 and…..”

“Oh, well, sorry, I am so booked every night until at least 8.”

“But, I thought you run your own business now?”

“I do and the customers want the times from 4 to 8 so I give them what they want, say, I have to run, you take care, come in and try us out some time.”

And Nicole was off the line.

Stephanie was in shock.  Not certain why.

She decided to text her friend Marcia who is a nurse at General Hospital. Just a quick text to see if Marcia would go with her to the networking event. Marcia said she was done at 4 PM and would enjoy catching up with Stephanie. Marcia and Stephanie met and went to the networking event. They secured a table in the corner and enjoyed the free food and beverages and spent over two hours talking and catching up with each other.

What do you see going on in this story? Do you see the missed opportunities staring Stephanie in the face? Do you see the errors in her business networking strategy? Do you see some of yourself in this story?

*Please note personal and business names have been changed to protect their innocence.

If you are ready to create face to face networking opportunities for yourself and your team, connect with expert Business Strategist Mitch Tublin and book your strategic business breakthrough session today and create your networking strategy to grow your business.