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Networking= Mining for Gold

April 25, 2012

This article by Glen Keene, addresses how networking can be the key to a successful business. Opportunities, relationships and like-minded people is something all networkers benefit from at events. But don’t take our word for it…

How do business owners and professionals find potential customers, clients, and strategic partners? Where are the best places to find people who you want to do business with or who may want to do business with you? What can new and existing businesses do to generate buzz, awareness and/or interest in their product or service? How can you exponentially expand your sales force even if you currently do not have a sales force? Where can you find new leads?

Building a new business is never easy. In the current economic environment it is often difficult enough to sustain an ongoing enterprise. But, even in the worst of economic conditions there are ways to enhance the bottom line. There are several actions you can take to widen your customer or client base. One way is to advertise. Another is to sit by the door and hope that someone comes in. One can be expensive and not cost effective. The other is just no way to get business.

A simple and relatively cost effective way to build your business is by word of mouth. When people tell others about you and your service or product, what they say can be a powerful endorsement. And, others will listen. Word of mouth marketing has generated substantial amounts of business. It may very well be the primary means by which most products or services are sold.

But, building your business with word of mouth marketing can take a long time. Networking is one way to speed up the process and realize your goals sooner. It can be effective and enjoyable.

Networking simply means getting yourself in front of like-minded people who are looking for the same things you are; new clients and customers, new business opportunities and strategic partners. Consider joining trade associations, local business organizations, and specific networking groups. These are all ways you can create new leads, get new customers or clients in the door and make people aware of what you have to offer.

Networking relies upon a very simple concept: people prefer to do business with someone they know, like and trust. If others know, like and trust you they will be more willing to recommend others to you. By joining one or more (the more the merrier) of these organizations you will grow your network exponentially through the word of mouth of your ‘sales team.’ That team consists of every member of the group as well as their network of family, colleagues, friends, business associates, customers, clients and anyone else they know.

Another benefit is the friendships that can develop from membership. The relationships you develop can last a lifetime.

If you decide to join a group or groups make sure you attend the meetings and/or functions, take advantage of opportunities to refer new clients/customers to other members and, by all means, participate in whatever leadership roles are available. By getting involved you will not only build the trust factor it will help you develop or enhance your leadership skills. Networking works if you work the network.

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