I set a goal to network every single day for a month and here are the basics of what I learned.
As we all know, starting a new business is challenging and one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to get new clients. For so long I had the luxury of obtaining new business through referrals and while this is nice, it’s not a long term strategy for business success. So, I had to get out from behind my computer, get out there, and let people know I exist. How did I do that? Through networking. Here’s what I learned.
- It’s all about connecting. For so long I avoided networking because I thought it meant selling and I don’t want to “sell” anyone. Fortunately, I met a lady who explained to me that networking isn’t about that. It’s really about connecting with other business owners. So that’s how I think about it. I’m not going there to sell, I’m just going to meet other business owners and this gets me through the day.
- Forget about yourself while networking. I always go with the intention of meeting other people and only focusing on them, not just what they do for a living but who they are as people. When engaged in a conversation, really listen and pay attention. Don’t just pretend to listen! Also ask questions when you feel it’s appropriate. I only start talking about myself if they start asking me questions and I don’t ramble on and on about myself. I have a tendency to always guide the conversation back to the other person naturally so this is not a problem for me.
- Only give business cards when asked for one. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to go around just handing out business cards to everyone you see. This is a great way to get on everyone’s bad side. It’s just bad etiquette and you’ll look like a clueless fool. I always wait until they ask me for one, then I ask for theirs. On the flip side, I have no problem asking someone for their card and you shouldn’t either.
- Try to set up “dates”. If you know your schedule or have your phone handy, try to set up appointments right then and there to meet sometime within the next 2 weeks. Just say something like, “Hey, I’d really like to hear more about what you do. Would you like to set up a meeting right now?” Some will set that date and some will have to get back. Try to have a goal number in mind to leave with a certain amount of dates already set.
- Allot a certain amount of time for networking each month. If you are trying to grow your business then getting your face and name out there in front of people (in real life) is the best way to do it. This means you have to network. This has literally become my new full time job. Like I said, I’ve been doing this all day, every day for a month and I’m just now starting to see results. It takes consistency, hard work, time, and money but it pays off. As business owners we are often strapped for time but if you can just pick 1 or 2 events a month, it’ll be worth it.
This was a really hard thing for me to do at first because I’m more of an introvert, but it was sooooooo worth it. My business has blossomed as a result of getting out there and networking with other business owners. I still consider myself a newbie at this but I’ve learned so much in a very short amount of time. I’ll be posting more tips for you guys throughout the week and beyond. Time to get out and network!
About Aja Vickers:
Aja Vickers is the President of Aja Vickers Global Media and Vickers Entertainment Group, LLC.
Aja Vickers has spent more than a decade creating compelling visual content for network television, businesses, non-profits, and artists. Her love of video production and photography keeps her striving to become one of the most sought after experts in her field.
Originally from Los Angeles, California, Aja attended the University of New Mexico and University of San Francisco where she studied journalism and politics. Her internships with ABC affiliate KOAT in Albuquerque and FOX affiliate KTVU in Oakland taught her the necessary skills to become an on-air reporter and she got her first television job in 2006 at local community station TV30 near the San Francisco Bay Area. Aja started reporting, shooting, editing, writing, and producing her own segments and assisting with the production of the news program. Her success in this endeavor allowed her to become the Bureau Chief for the NBC affiliate KSNG out in Garden City, Kansas, where she won the Kansas Association of Broadcasters award for best Non-Metro Television Prime Newscast. With that success in Kansas, Aja moved to a larger media market in Tulsa, OK where she worked for the NBC affiliate KJRH. At this station she worked as a Multi-Media Journalist shooting, writing and contributing editing her own stories as well as being an on air reporter covering all areas of the news for the station. . From politics to crime, sports to tornadoes–you name it, she’s shot it, reported on it or both.
After experiencing all aspects of broadcast news, Aja decided she wanted to start her own production company and began her journey to make it a reality. Aja honed her skills in the news industry by doing thousands of different types of stories and interviews and she coupled those skills with her knack for storytelling and an ability to capture the emotion of any genre. The result is a masterful transformation of pictures and words into a powerful message for her clients. Whatever message you desire Aja can make it happen.
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