Today, I want to discuss something a bit different. I want to remind you of a fast becoming lost skill. The skill that is being quickly replaced by emails. But a skill that can get you far better results than any other type of communication out there.
One of THE most important skills you have to master to be a success in your business, to take your business up another level, to increase the potential of your business by 100s% and create limitless opportunities for yourself is to know how to do good old fashioned networking.
We, at iQ Desk, see it over and over again with our business, how simple networking can open up endless doors to destinations we haven’t even thought of.
You have probably heard about networking many times before and just tossed the idea aside and never given it a second thought. Thought it to be too time consuming, or too boring. Well, this is mistake number ONE and it is a very costly mistake.
When you are out there meeting new people and targeting your niche, your market, or even your existing clients, you’re literally keeping your business alive.
As a freelancer or any business owner as a matter of fact, you have already realized that you are not alone out there, there is competition. Competition can be fierce sometimes and hard to overcome.
Now, think about the businesses that always succeed, think about the people in your field that seem to make a fortune while others who have the EXACT same skills don’t get anywhere near.. These people are probably being out there, promoting themselves and their business! They are joining endless seminars, conferences, meeting their clients face to face, sending emails and thank you notes and creating a credible name for themselves and their business. And most importantly, building their contact list again and again and again and again! Just by the effect of meeting people who know other people who know other people who know.. In one contact you may have met dozens or even hundreds more. Do you start getting the drift of endless opportunities?
How do you network? Once you have mastered the art of networking, it becomes a second nature and the more you do it, the more comfortable you are. Even if you are the shy type, or you find engaging in small talk or even socializing terrifying, (Some types of freelance work can be very lonely), you need to remember four things:
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Before you attend a conference, a meeting or any other social network event, be sure to get ready. A Rooky mistake is to show up not doing your homework. Make sure you know what the conference is about, who the speakers are, if any, the most relevant and latest talk in your field and your main competitors.
2. Get a goal of contacting at least 3 people
There is no much point if you do get out of the house and off your desk to a social networking event, without actually meeting people. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, set a goal to speak with three different people whom you do not know and get their contact details, remember! A smile and a bit of small talk can go a long way when it comes to business. If you are not good in having a small talk and many people don’t know how to do it and resort to talking about the weather or the plans for the weekend, prepare a speech before you get out of the house. Just a little bit of interesting topics to discuss that are relevant to your field of expertise and maybe a little bit of a sales pitch of yourself. Yes, you are there to make contacts that will bring you money! Oh..Yes and don’t forget eye contact. It builds credibility, oozes confidence and makes others view you as a professional and expert in your field.
3. Understand who you’re talking to
People are different. Some have a good sense of humor; some won’t move their lips when they hear a good joke. Some like to talk about themselves, some like to listen. It is very important when you meet new people to understand quickly what type of person you’re talking to. If the person in front of you, is a bit of the philosophical type, try not to show off all your analytical skills while you engage in your few minutes yet potentially long term relationship small talk. If they like to tell stories, try to ask them more questions to encourage them to tell more stories. Make sure you are remembered for the right reasons! If you can master this skill, you may end up with a client for life and sometimes even with a friend.
4. Follow up
Its people’s nature to show a lot of enthusiasm in these events and make promises to each other, but you will be surprised just how many people don’t get anything out of them. After you had met these three contacts and got their business cards, make sure you emailed them and thank them for their time. Also mention that it was a pleasure to have met them. This is called building relationships. Remember! If they now need a freelancer, they will most likely go to you first.
5. Look the part
And last but not least, look the part. Dress and talk appropriately in these conferences, be friendly and smile. Research show that lucky people tend to smile more often.
If you don’t go out there, you might have missed on making a fortune!