What’s the best way to market your small business? The best results come primarily from face-to-face business networking. As an enthusiastic and highly successful networking expert, this form of marketing has been featured in various articles I’ve written on B2B information. However, in networking, as in all parts of business, change happens and you can always learn new ways to become more and more efficient in how you deliver your message.
So, to honor my favorite form of marketing, here are the 5 Cs of networking to help you be more successful:
C is for Create. Create opportunities. How? Think about how you start a conversation with a new connection at an event. What do you usually ask: “What are you doing?” Aren’t you totally annoyed by this overused chat line? The next time you’re engaging with a new business owner at an event, why not start the conversation with this: “Tell me about your business…” or “What challenges do you face in this moment / “What recent successes can you share? These exchanges create opportunities for in-depth study, allowing you to learn more about the positioning of your business solution.
It’s for consistency. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings very true when it comes to networking. People who show up only once or occasionally run the risk of being quickly forgotten and/or may be seen as unserious networkers. Certainly, not all styles of networking respond to an individual’s personal choice. However, successful networking relies on strong and reliable relationships, which equates to consistency. Good relationships take time and effort to develop and grow. Participate once and expect instant results? You’re kidding!
C for Collaboration. Two heads are often better than one, they say. Once you’ve established yourself in one or more networking groups that meet your goals, it’s a positive step to explore potential collaborative partnerships. Consider connecting with others who do what you do, perhaps with a different approach/experience. Collaborations are great for broadening thinking, building support and motivation, and enhancing potential work opportunities.
It’s for choice. One of my favorite things about being a freelance networker is the fact that it’s my choice who I connect with and who I work with, and it’s my choice as to how often where and when I network. The choice allows you to be selective and gives you freedom that an employed networking professional typically does not have.
C is for Connector. Networking being my primary goal for marketing my services, one thing I have learned is to see networking as an opportunity to connect others. Rather than adopting a “selfish” attitude, but have a strategy for what you want to accomplish, think broadly when speaking with people and think about how you can connect them to other business owners than yourself. know. When you are recognized as a successful connector, people will flock to you and respect you for your knowledge, support, and expertise.