Networking Strategy and Dating – What They Have in Common
Strategy for your networking? The ability to network in person or online requires a strategy. You must take a business approach to your networking. We as entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have the luxury of attending every single networking event available.
So what’s your first step? In order to create a strategy for your networking you must be clear on your ideal client . There are numerous reasons to define and know your ideal client; networking is one of those reasons.
When you are clear on who your ideal client is, you will be able to select where to network and how to approach your networking activity. For example: if you were seeking to date a specific person or type of person wouldn’t you go where they were? Socialize where they socialize? Go to relax where they go to relax? The activity of networking could be thought of the same way as dating.
If you feel uncomfortable thinking about your networking activity in this manner, let’s put this another way – your networking activity is building up your Social Capital. It is the relationships you build through your networking which will be a building block for your business growth and ultimate success.
Ask yourself these questions to just get moving in the right direction – now:
- First, who are the people you wish to work with? Everyone is the wrong answer. We are seeking your ideal client group or niche here.
- Second, where do these ideal clients hangout, online or in person?
- Lastly, name five specific people who fit the first question and then apply the second question. Here is where your strategy might come into play. How will you meet them?
One of the strategies that my corporate clients have learned from me is to map out through the course of the year specific functions, events, dinners, luncheons, etc. where their ideal clients are gathered, and make absolutely certain they are in the room for these functions. The goal is to connect and establish a relationship. It is not to sell to anyone anything. Over time and by being present and establishing a relationship, you are developing a trusting relationship. You will now become a trusted resource for referrals. This remains the single best way to locate a new client, through a warm referral.
The methods described above are successful in online networking and in person networking. It is essential to not forget to be present in both worlds . Do not lose yourself into thinking everything is online now. There is still nothing to replace the face-to-face networking and warm referral methods derived from this process.