Finding new clients and attracting new customers doesn’t have to be all about advertising your business. Sometimes it’s about selling yourself through networking. But networking events tend to get a bad rap – most people don’t look forward to boring business events full of schmoozing and faking interest in others. But attending those awful local events isn’t the only way to network. If you cringe when you hear the mention of “networking”, why not try a new way to create business relationships?
Start a Meetup
Networking events are said to be the best way to meet new contacts and create business relationships. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which will be most beneficial to your needs. So why not start your own? Create your own event and send invites on social media to reach out to people you already know and ask those people to pass along the invite to others who might be interested. Make sure you find an open and comfortable space and have refreshments available to make your event feel friendly and welcoming. As the host, you’ll be responsible for making your event is successful so go out of your way to introduce yourself to as many people as possible and ask lots of questions (while networking the whole time)! Starting your own meetup allows you to create the ideal networking event – not the stuffy boring kind that everyone dreads! If you’d rather do something informal, try starting a book club or a wine tasting event. This will provide a more intimate environment for discussion and, with the right group, can turn into potential relationship building in the future.
Find a Volunteer Opportunity
Not only does volunteer work give you a feeling of great satisfaction, it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals who are looking to give back to the community. Being in a group who are passionate about volunteering can really bring people together and eventually forge close bonds. There’s a sense of trust established as people are working towards a greater good. Another way to volunteer and get your work noticed is to offer your services for free to a non-profit.
Have Your Business Card Handy
You never know when you’ll run into someone who could become a potential client, so always have your business cards ready to hand out. If a casual conversation at a pub turns to work related discussion, providing a business card with your answer to “what do you do?” can turn a chance meeting into a future business venture. The business card might get tucked away, but is a good reminder for when services might be needed later or it can be passed along to a friend. To make a larger impact, splurge on an interesting and creative design for your cards as a statement piece.
Strengthen Your Existing Connections
Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to keep in touch with co-workers, employees, or clients from the past. But reaching out every once in a while is a great way to keep your name (and business) top of mind. A simple email to catch up or even a social media message keeps the relationship even after years have passed. LinkedIn provides a great way to keep contact information of those you’ve worked with in the past, and makes it easy to find those you may have lost contact with. You’ll also have an easier time meeting new contacts simply through keeping up with your old ones. Now that’s networking!