Effective Strategies is devoted to sharing ideas that can improve your business performance. Last issue, we discussed passive and active ways to promote your business. This issue, we look at the gifts of networking. If you missed the last issue,click here to read it.
One of the most special things about networking is what you get in return for your investment of time. Now, most folks think of networking as this great marketing activity where they raise awareness about their business and meet other people who can buy from them. However, they are ignoring the most important and satisfying aspects ó the gifts!
ďWhat kinds of gifts?Ē you ask. Try these on for size. Are there some listed here youíve overlooked?
Referrals. Wondering what to get that special business owner or sales professional in your life? You wonít have to write a check or swipe you credit card. You wonít even have to gift-wrap it. Itís worth far more than you would ever consider spending. Stumped? Itís a nice warm lead. You know the kind where someone says, ďIím looking for someone who does this? Do you know anyone?Ē
The really beautiful thing is that these referrals and leads for others are trinkets that you stumble across while networking. One new customer for one business may be a one-time $300 purchase. For another business, a $30 first-time purchase can lead to a regular customer who spends that amount weekly.
It just doesnít stop at business though. Think about how many people you meet who are new to business or new to your area. How many people are out there looking for jobs? How many charity fund-raisers need volunteers, silent auction donations, sponsorships, and participants? When you spend more time asking questions than talking about your business, you open your mind and heart to the needs of the other person.
Building Your Reputation. Once you hand off that nice warm lead to a trusted associate, they hopefully do something wonderful ó provide extraordinary customer service. That builds your reputation as someone people can trust for reliable referrals. You arenít just going to hand off a lead to someone because he is in your leads group or is your buddy ó you are going to send them to the business who will take the best care of them.
Friendship. By investing time in learning about others, they want to know more about you. You learn you have common interests and, over time, become friends. People are more likely to refer their friends than people they barely know. Your life is enriched by your new friends and your business benefits through more referrals.
Stronger Community. When you provide leads to your fellow business people, it increases their sales. More sales mean they may need additional workforce and will purchase additional supplies to provide their product or service. More sales often mean more sales tax revenue in your community which provides better city services, roads, parks, and more.
Serving Something Bigger Than Yourself. The most gratifying gift of all is to serve one small part of the bigger plan. When you are networking, donít overlook those times when unmistakably God has used you to connect two business people together. You were chosen so donít miss the opportunity to celebrate your participation in that one little miracle.
Next time you are networking, relax and remember that itís not all about you and promoting your business. In leads as well as in life, strive to give more than you receive. The more you try it, the more impossible it seems because people will want to repay your kindness. Then, sit back and let the gifts roll in.
Do you have a great small business management idea youíd like to share with our readers? Share your ideas via e-mail at email@example.com.
If you have specific questions and topic ideas, please submit them. I would be glad to address them in upcoming issues. For more articles, click here.
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Carrie Perrien Smith
President, Soar With Eagles
Release Your Potential
Soar with Eagles equips successful individuals and organizations to reach their peak performance through teamwork, communication, and execution.
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