How Networking Can Transform Your Business

 People do business with people. It is for this reason, that face to face contact can never be replaced with technology. Does this mean technology is bad? Certainly not.  However, I'd rather speak to a live person  than a machine offering me lots of options.

To be successful in your  home business, you need to build effective relationships- get out of your comfort zone, connect with other people and I don't mean the Facebook kind of connecting. Business today involves having great people skills.

 Here are a few networking tips to help you get started;

Start small and be flexible. Find an activity you enjoy and register as a member. It could be a local book club or a Moms group. Do not go there to talk about your business. Get to know the members first.

You may consider joining your  local Chamber of Commerce. It's a great way to meet other business owners in your community. 

There are also local groups that meet on a huge range of  topics. If you're interested in business, social media, fishing, etc. You will find people who share the same interest as you on A lot of the groups are super active and have little to no joining fees 

Also available are the BNI meeting groups. These are awesome for true networking and lead passage. You will meet a large array of local businesses that join the group for a year or more at a time. The cost of  this is a bit higher and you need to commit to attendance policies.     

When participating in your group, make sure to always bring your business cards. Make it a point to take some time to really talk and get to know people.

Networking is about making a connection with  someone.  It is about rapport-building. It is not about trying to get as many people as possible to listen to your 30 second elevator speech, although you do need to have one.

When you are chatting with a new contact, ask important questions about them. Learn about their business. Show a genuine interest in what they do. Don't forget to make eye contact. You can also  make a few notes on their business card about what you talked about so that you can remember.

At a later date, you can call them up or drop a note saying  how much you enjoyed meeting them or say, “Hey,here might be a solution something we chatted about.” If you really hit it off, you  could ask them to coffee or something.

 A few things networking don'ts;

 Don’t try and run through a room and meet everyone.

Don’t try and pass your business cards out to everyone. Make it special so they remember you and you remember them. Each one of your connections is very valuable. You may need them some day and having a great local contact is worth its price in gold.

 Four simple reasons why networking  works;

Your business will be more successful because you will be making yourself known to the right people.

You can exchange ideas with your contacts and also get encouragement, motivation and guidance.

Your contacts can provide information that can make a huge difference to your business.

Referrals. People do business with people they like, trust and respect.

Most of all, life is more fun when you have good relationships.

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