If you have a business, it is important to remember that people purchase products or services from you because they know, like and trust you. But just how does a potential client get to know, like and trust you? In order to turn that potential client into a profitable one you must be visible to them and you must be credible. This is where networking comes into play, as it will provide all three. You will be seen on a regular basis, therefore building credibility and collecting testimonials along the way. Ultimately leading to a profitable sale.
Networking is a common synonym for developing and maintaining contacts and personal connections with a variety of people who might be helpful to you and your career. We as people are always networking and may not know it. You are networking at family gatherings, tailgating at the big game or at your religious weekly service.
In this blog I want to focus on networking in a professional setting. You may join a rotary club, a local chamber that meets monthly or a networking group that meets weekly. Over the years In Focus Studios has been part of many networking groups. We have found that they all work. The catch is, you get out of it, what you put into it. If you just plop your money down to be a member and do not attend the meetings on a regular basis, you will most likely get nothing in return. In today’s media packed world where we’re bombarded with as many as 3000 advertising images, and slogans a day, a person may require anywhere from 8-12 exposures to a concept or idea before a connection is made with a potential customer. The more often you meet a person, the faster your name will come up in a conversation when your product/service could come into play. Like I mentioned earlier, people buy from you because they know, like and trust you. If you are never seen, that relationship will not develop.
Building relationships also takes time. I have seen companies join a networking group and after a few months leave the group because they were not receiving any leads. That is like planting an apple tree in one part of the garden and when it doesn’t produce in the first year you dig it up and plant in another part of the garden. In order for you to harvest fruit you need to water the tree, fertilize it and let the roots get established. The same is true with networking. Nurture the relationships, give advise, pass leads to others in the group. Be patient and do what you can to help your group succeed. It will all come back to you threefold.
Networking for In Focus Studios has by far been the biggest bang for the buck. Finding a weekly networking group was one of the first marketing tools we invested in. It is also the only means of marketing that we still use today, 13 years later.