Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ways to Network

Networking is a deliberately vague term that has many applications. It is all about referals and how to get them. One might be networking in your chosen field of business. For me, that means sharing booth space at expensive shows with other readers and healers so that we can all become more profitable. We also give each other a heads up when a new show is opening or words of caution when another one does not have a good track record. So that manner of networking is very direct. You get useful information from people in the same business and share resources to help each other succeed. Plus, you can refer people to each other. For example, I am not an astrologer or a massage therapist, but I know astrologers and massage therapists if one of my clients requests that kind of service.

Another way of networking is to exchange information and ideas with people in a variety of businesses different than your own. This is a less direct method of referrals, so it may take longer to yield results. For example, someone who is a caterer may not use your services that often herself, but she may know others who are interested. On the other hand, most entrepreneurs could use the assistance of an accountant or book keeper and you could refer leads to them. And perhaps you do not have a dog, but at a networking meeting you met someone who takes care of dogs. So then when you have a friend who needs someone to take care of their dog, you know who to refer them to.

This is a helpful, friendly way to do things, but as an entrepreneur, you also need the kinds of leads that will mature into sales faster than that. After all, who knows how frequently someone will ask you if you know of an accountant or dog sitter?

Generally, trying to be helpful to other people is a good way to set positive energy in motion for yourself.

By far the best networking is through your previous customers. People who have enjoyed and appreciated your work are in position to refer new customers to you who will, of course, be requesting an appointment for the very service or product you are selling.

A combination of all of the above is necessary. Keep your momentum going and eventually leads and clients will come from all of these directions. If you are trying to start your own business or grow your business, you always have to keep looking for new ideas. Networking is a good way to go.

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