Networking Tips for Building Relationships Offline
If you’ve shied away from attending networking events in the past, these networking tips will get you out there and mingling like a pro!
Did you know that my Facebook account was hacked last week?
It took me a full 7 days to get it back! Ugh!!! I wasn’t able to post, like, comment or interact in any way until they were able to verify I was the owner of my own account. Talk about uber annoying and super frustrating. But that just goes to show you, that you do not own your followers. You are at the mercy of FB, IG, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
That’s not a good position to be in. Plus, with all the algorithm changes on what seems like a daily basis, who’s to say that your followers that are currently liking, loving and commenting on your stuff are even going to see it tomorrow?
Now, I’m not saying ditch social media, that’s where the majority of my bread and butter is made, but it got me thinking, if you depend solely on social media for your marketing, not only are you missing out on a vast opportunity to market your business to locals right in your own backyard, but you could be putting your business at great risk.
Build relationships with people you can help with your products or services first, don’t push the hard sell on people you’ve just met. They don’t know you, so they likely won’t spend their hard-earned cash on your product. However, by interacting with them on a regular basis you will build a foundation upon which to build a stronger relationship, which may ultimately lead to them buying from you.
How to Get Started Networking Offline
The idea of walking into a room without knowing a single soul can no doubt be daunting. But the alternative of not sharing your story and your mission to those who may be seeking this exact answer to their problems is equally troubling. No matter how you want to start networking in real life, put on your brave face and tackle your social fears head on. Keep reading for a few networking tips to get your started.
1. Join a Relevant Business Networking Group
Very often there are dozens of business networking groups and chambers of commerce spread across the country in every locale, so you really can pick and choose which group is best for you. Yes, you want to reap a reward for being a part of the group, but your acceptance into any business group will depend on what you can contribute. After all, it’s all about building relationships. Some groups are more formal and have standard meeting rules, while others may be much more casual and usually smaller in scale. Ask to visit a meeting or two before submitting an application and never be afraid to ask questions about the other members or when the group was formed.
2. Hold Live Workshops
What better way to showcase your authority and expertise than to speak to your local community! Turn an online webinar into a live presentation or create a presentation customized to your community’s needs. Contact your local library, business association or community college with your ideas and very often if the presentation is unique and relevant to the community, you will get a booking.
Make sure to collect business cards or to have attendees sign in so you can connect with them on social media and continue the relationship building. The easiest way to do that is to use a virtual card that acts more like a mobile landing page for your brand.
3. Volunteer in the Community
Look for groups or charities that are relevant to your experience, but don’t go in thinking you need to change everything. Building relationships should be a positive experience, so offer your guidance and input when asked. Otherwise, enjoy conversing with other volunteers, board members, and administrative personnel, all of whom hold the possibility of referring you to their family, friends, or other networking contacts.
The number one networking tip I can give you is don’t forget to follow-up!!! Collecting business cards is not the goal, building lasting relationships is. If you’re not sure how to do that, then you’ll want to sign-up for my webinar – Mastering The Art of The Follow-up.
So get out there and meet some real live people!