Networking Ideas

People buy from friends. The strategies below will help you increase the number of people who know and recognize you, including people in high places that can really help you.

Even if you don’t like the idea of networking, there are some ideas below you shouldn’t overlook.

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Advertising Associations

Join your local advertising association. This will help you meet contacts with advertising experience, potential customers for your products and services, and improve your marketing skills all at the same time.


 

Advertising Clubs

Organize an advertising club consisting of non-competing businesses that want to split the cost of advertising in a mutually beneficial way.


 

Arm Your Employees

Give your employees sales aids to bring to networking functions they attend. Encourage them to attend such events, possibly by offering to pay for them to do so.


 

Article Writing

Write articles online and for local newspapers or relevant publications in your niche.


 

Be Ready

Join toastmasters to learn public speaking skills. When the day comes that an opportunity to really connect with your target market comes along you’ll be thankful you did this early.

Every business owner will have to speak in front of a crowd one day or another – don’t deny it, prepare for it.


 

Be Vigilant

Always be on the look-out for qualified prospects whether you are at church, a friends house, a charity event, or anywhere else.


 

Business Breakfast Clubs

Start or join a business breakfast club with like-minded business professionals who can help you in various aspects of your business. Business owners are excellent contacts who can open an endless amount of doors for your business.


 

Chamber of Commerce

Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Try to get the most out of your membership by offering to assist in organizing their next event. That way you’ll make some contacts in the Chamber early.

If your target market is business owners the people who run the chamber will be some of the most important contacts you make because they can help you access the bulk of your target market in one shot. Be ready for a speaking engagement in front of your entire target market because they can easily make it happen.


 

Community Events

Get a list of community events in your town, and highlight the ones you believe your target market will be attending. Think up creative ways you could tie your business into the event.

A restaurant could offer to provide an appetizer for each table, and include small card which says the name of the dish and which restaurant it is from. They could also host an activity for children, where children can learn to create a dish the restaurant serves.


 

Community Involvement

Get involved in your community. Getting to know the big players in your city opens a lot of doors. Being on a first name basis with the mayor, city council, prominent media personnel, and business leaders can lead to many opportunities and referrals.


 

Conferences and Tradeshows

Attend industry conferences and tradeshows your target market will be attending.


 

Contests and Competitions

Enter a contest/competition related to your industry. If you make it deep in the event ask the local media to write-up a story on your performance in the event. Media outlets love stories about locals performing in large competitions.


 

Don’t be Afraid to Pitch Yourself

Be on the look-out for opportunities to pitch your product/service. Nobody likes a person who drones on and on, but if you have a short persuasive 15-second elevator speech you shouldn’t be afraid to run through it with everyone you meet.

If you ask a person what they do for a living, they’ll generally ask you the same question afterwards, and you have your chance to bring it up naturally.


 

Elevator Speech

Develop a 15-second elevator speech that turns a stranger into a new customer in a very short period of time. Carry some type of hand-out on you at all times that you can give to them before you break contact.


 

Find Your Target Market

Join clubs, associations, and groups your target market participates in. Alternatively, offer discounts to members of a specific group, club, or association.


 

Fusion Networking

Build relationships with people/business owners that have a similar target market. That will relationship will help you convince them to give you access to their customers. See Fusion Marketing.


 

Give Speeches

Offer to speak at relevant industry events, in relevant college/university classes, and anywhere else you feel will help you connect with your target market.

Speeches unrelated to your industry can also be beneficial even if you can only work in a short blurb about what you do.


 

Host an Event

Organize or sponsor an event that will appeal to your target market.


 

Network in Front of Your Business

Instead of sitting inside the whole day, set up a hot dog stand, coffee bar, or information booth outside your business, and do some networking. This is a great way to get to know the people in your area.


 

Network with City Officials

City officials and organizations can open a lot of doors for your business.

Make contact with your city, the chamber of commerce, and community groups, and offer your businesses desire to help in any way you can with local events and fundraisers.

This not only gets you some valuable contacts in the city, but will help your business get the heads up on relevant events your target market will be attending before your competition.


 

Referral Networks

Join a referral network of business owners that have an exclusive agreement to only refer their clients to members of the group. These often double as breakfast clubs.


 

Say Something to Everyone You Meet

Something as innocent as "Nice day huh?" can easily start a meaningful conversation, and cause that person to recognize you the next time you meet.

You don't have to start a full blown conversation with everybody, just make some kind of comment to each person you encounter during the day whether it be in line at the ATM, a person standing next to you at the subway, or the person next to you on an airplane.

You can easily triple the number of people who recognize your face using this simple method.


 

Start a Club, Association, or Group

Start your own club, association, or group. When you manage the organization you have a lot more control to direct it in a way that leads to more business for your company. You also become an authority figure in your industry, and people will come to respect you as an expert.


 

Teach a Class

Teaching a class can often work as a lead generator. An Internet Marketer will get a significant amount of business from students of their Internet Marketing classes who are just too busy/not quite ready to do it themselves.

An Italian restaurant owner will get visits from people that attend their Italian cooking course (who are likely to bring friends that are also interested in Italian cooking).


 

Welcome Wagon

Have your product or service included in your town’s welcome wagon. The welcome wagon gives a package of goods from local businesses to people who just moved to your area.


 

Have a Networking Idea to Add?

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