Have you met your business and financial goals for this year? What type of year would you have if you sold more products or services?
We get it; selling is hard!
You feel you’ve hacked it this month, and the next, everything turns to dust (literally). And then you have to try again and sometimes from scratch.
There has to be a way to change that. Yes, there is, and it’s called networking.
Recall that people buy from people, yes? It makes sense to say the more quality people you have in your corner, the better.
Networking is finding and bringing more people to your space to assist you and help you grow your business.
So how do you network better going into the new year?
Kill introversion before it kills your business.
You’re the introvert your business isn’t. Your business is an extrovert that needs people's energy to survive and grow. Always hand that in mind whenever you’re in a room with people.
If you are naturally shy, it can be hard to do well in networking. There are ways to get over being shy and make connections, which is good news.
First, think about coming up with icebreakers ahead of time, so you don't have to think of something on the spot.
Second, don't be afraid to take a break if it all feels like too much. Get a coffee, use the bathroom, or take a walk. When you return to the room, you'll be ready to meet new people.
Attend more industry events and contribute to conversations.
How to come up with icebreakers
If you want to get past the awkwardness of meeting someone new and make a good first impression, you might want to start with a compliment.
For instance, you could tell the person next to you that you like their shoes or tie at a seminar.
In the same way, asking a question lets a contact talk about themselves. Ask them how they got started in the field or what they think about a recent change that affects your business.
Learn to simplify what you do or sell
It's not enough to offer your clients a great product or service. If you can't explain what you do, you won't be able to tell people about it at networking events.
Whether you want to get referrals or just build your virtual Rolodex for the future, take the time to make an elevator pitch that explains what you do, who you do it for, and why customers should choose you over your competitors.
Lead with giving.
People are attracted to value. If you must give value to get value back, why not do it on your terms?
You need to nail down your strategic partners quickly and give to them.
For example, if you sell SEO services, some of your strategic partners are website development agencies, content marketing agencies, and so on.
How do you give to your strategic partners?
Make new introductions, offer to be a guest on their podcasts, share their content and send them thoughtful business gifts.
Follow-up and follow-through.
Making connections is only half the battle; you also have to do things to keep the relationship going.
It ties back to leading with giving. You could send them an article relevant to their work, invite them to a seminar or conference, or even just send them a holiday greeting.
Of course, what you do isn't the only thing that makes a difference in networking.
Don't be negative. Don't talk badly about former employees or partners if you want to start a conversation.
After all, you don't want potential contacts to think you'd say bad things about them if you had the chance.
We all need help every once in a while. To be successful at networking, you must be brave enough to ask for help.
Before you go to your next meetup or seminar, make sure you know what you want to get out of it. Then, tell the truth when someone asks how they can help you.