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Networking is one of the most effective ways to promote a small business. How do you use it?

How Do You Use Networking to Promote Your Business?
 

Hi *|FNAME|*, 

A couple of months ago I decided to write a series of newsletters looking at the marketing tools that we use to promote Appletree and that work best for promoting our clients. We covered LinkedIn last month, which you can read again here.

This issue of Scribbles is focusing on Networking – the time you spend face to face with other business people. How does it work? Why does it work? And what can you do to make it work even better for your business? Read on to find out!
 
Best wishes,
 
Chantal


Chantal@Appletreeuk.com

01635 578 500

 


How Do You Use Networking to Promote Your Business?
 

When you provide a service – such as coaching, consultancy or training – you’re actually selling your own time, expertise and experience. This means that potential clients need to trust you, before they will buy from you. One of the best ways to build up trust is by meeting people, face to face, and getting to know them. This is why networking work so well for service businesses.

How does Networking work for our clients?

Hilary runs a successful HR consultancy. She’s very good at what she does and she knows how to use networking properly, to meet potential clients and develop relationships. Hilary and I meet every two months to review and discuss her marketing. One item that is always on the agenda is her networking activity, because it’s vital that you measure the effectiveness of all your marketing, to make sure it works for you.

As Hilary is a keen golfer, she joined a networking group that would allow her to play golf and network at the same time. However, after a few ‘meetings’, Hilary told me that the golfing was too slow. There was too much talk and not enough golf. Ideal for networking, but not when you’re on a golf course and you’re holding up the people behind you. She said that each session just took up too much time. We discussed the pros and cons of this type of networking and Hilary decided not to carry on with it.

There’s a different weekly networking meeting that Hilary attends. She’s really getting to know the other business people who go and they’re beginning to recommend her to more of their contacts. She recently gave a short presentation on the importance of social media policies and staff, which went down very well. On a regular review of this group, it is obvious to us that Hilary should continue to attend every week.

What networking meetings do you go to, that you can recommend?

How does Networking work for Appletree?

When I first set up Appletree, back in 2000, I left a corporate job where networking involved the boss taking his friends out for a round of golf. No one else in the business went to any networking events. So when I started looking at how best to promote my new business, I didn’t even consider networking. That is, until one of the cold calls I made resulted in a lovely lady inviting me to a networking meeting. Why? Because she knew that anyone wanting to promote a service business would be able to do so much more effectively face to face, at a networking meeting, than by making cold calls. And it worked!

Since then, networking has been responsible for nearly half the new business that comes to Appletree. But I don’t go networking to look for new clients. Last summer I attended a few meetings of a group in Reading. I met a lovely lady called Maria a number of times, who is an Export Consultant. We actually spent more time talking about the fact that she is rather good at shooting (in competitions, that is!) We discussed the commitment and focus required to shoot well – the discipline and the psychology – which I found fascinating. Business didn’t really come into our conversations. Then at one meeting last autumn, Maria walked up to me and announced that she wanted me to help her with her marketing! I didn’t even realize that she knew what I did! But we’d spent enough time talking and getting to know each other, that she felt she could trust me. She has been a client for over six months now and is making really good progress with her marketing.
 
How much new business do you get through networking?
 


Need More Help with Networking?
 

If you need some tips to help you improve your networking, try these:

Get a better return on your networking investment by looking at what to do before, during and after each meeting. Ian Crocker from Absolute Learning writes about it in his newsletter.

Will Kintish is a bit of a networking expert. His website is packed with tips and advice that he’s happy to share.

Is there a time NOT to go networking? I think so and have written about it here.