By: Lisa Wozniak
Does the thought of networking make you cringe? Yeah, me too. Or at least it used to. I’ve been to a number of networking events over the years and they always seemed to leave me feeling like I needed to go home and take a shower. I have memories of going to networking events where hungry sales people armed with business cards could barely contain themselves while they waited for me to finish introducing myself and my business so that they could shove their cards in my face and try to “sell” me their products or services. Sound familiar?
A few months ago, however, I learned about approaching networking from an entirely different perspective. I was amazed to learn about all of the different ways networking can impact my business and the work that I do for others.
I really think that your mindset has a lot to do with it. When I network with people now, my agenda is to figure out how I can best serve them. For me, it’s a lot like a game that I have to solve. I am determined to add value to their life in the most meaningful way possible.
What do I get out of it, you might ask? Well, for starters I get a new friend. I get the satisfaction of knowing that I made a difference in someone else’s life. And if I’ve done my job correctly, I get an ally who will remember me and champion my cause for a lifetime. This person will begin marketing for me in ways that my money just can’t buy.
Here are some of the opportunities I look for when I meet new people.
- Guest Blogging – If you have a blog on your website, and you should, inviting someone to be a guest blogger is a great way to deliver fresh content to your followers. If you are guest blogging for each other, you have just been introduced to a fresh audience base as well!
- Email Marketing – Making an introduction of this person to your list of email followers is a great way of transferring the like and trust you have with this person to a larger audience. It also goes a long way to establishing your own credibility.
- Joint Webinars – Do you have some information that you’d like to get out there and teach others how to do? Doing this with someone who has a similar skill set is lots of fun, it builds a lasting work relationship and brings two follower bases together. And when marketed correctly has twice the impact.
- Video Interview – With tools like Zoom and Skype, it’s easy to introduce someone to your target market. You can begin the interview by asking your new connection about their business and the services/products that they offer, why they do what they do and who and how they serve. At the end of the interview you can provide them with their own copy so that they can use this as a marketing tool and you’ve got more content for your follower base and a fresh video to add to your YouTube Channel that will improve your SEO ratings. Can anyone say Winner Winner Chicken Dinner??!!
These are just a few examples of ways that you can begin collaborating with people on projects that will help both of your businesses. However, depending upon the people that you meet and the nature of their business. These examples don’t always apply. Don’t let this stop you. There are still other ways to impact the lives of the people you come in contact with. Here are a few more examples.
- Email Introductions – When I begin talking to someone and learning what they do, my brain immediately begins to think about who I know in that industry or better yet who I know that serves that industry. The people I introduce to one another really benefit from it and appreciate it as well.
- Niche Referrals – I’m seldom intimidated by meeting someone who does what I do for a living. In fact, these are some of my favorite people to network with. We tend to speak the same language and more often than not, they provide a specific service that is not in my wheel house. I now have someone I can refer my clients to who are asking for a specific service that I do not provide. Your new connection will often refer people back to you in return.
If you’ve met someone and all of these things still don’t apply, at the very least, you can provide them with a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile. If you just scroll down toward the bottom of their profile, you will see a section asking you if you would like to recommend this person. This goes a long way to adding credibility to their services and simply makes them more marketable.
Networking. It’s all about the people. When you take the time to really get to know a person and think about the value you can add to their life, you gain so much more in return!