If you have owned a business for any amount of time you know that networking is a great way to grow your business. It is one of those marketing ideas that we love and hate. However, there are a lot of us business owners that are more introverted, we are not all like Gary Vee.
So, I have a confession to make. By nature, I am very introverted. It is hard to believe because I own a marketing firm. In order to be successful, I have to get out there, I have to talk to people, and I have to be seen.
The truth of the matter is when I started my phoenix based marketing agency, I had to learn how to work a room and talk to strangers (one of my worst nightmares). So, what networking tips do I have for you, let’s find out.
Networking Tips For The Introverted Business Owner
So, how does an introverted person get better at this networking game? Here are 5 networking tips I learned along the way.
- Build Strategic Partnerships
My biggest networking pet peeves are the people that only come with a hard sell. I have come to learn that you have to build relationships and partnerships in order to make networking work. The best connection I have ever made through networking was not a direct sale. In fact, I do a lot of work for this partner for free. However, the number of connections I have made with her is amazing. A great partner is worth more than just one hard sell.
- Ask For Introduction
If there is someone that you need to talk to, ask your network for an introduction. This is much easier than going up to someone and jumping into a conversation. An introduction is a great way to break the ice.
Just listen to others in the room. Get to know the problems that are others are having. Even if you cannot help them, just having an ear to bend goes a long way. I have found that people in networking find it refreshing that you will listen to them because most are there to push their product or service. Listening will go a long way.
- Get Involved
Get involved, the more you are seen the better. If your group has a board of directors or officers, join. This is one of the best ways to get to know everyone in the group. Your networking only goes as far as the effort you put into it.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions
This was one of my biggest problems when I first started networking. I would ask yes or no questions. When you ask open-ended questions people will open up a little more and even spill their company problems. If you can help them solve the problem, you have a new lead.
- Become A Resource
Here is my favorite networking tip.
We have talked about the importance of blogging for your business because it helps you become the expert in your industry. This is the same for networking, become the groups’ go-to person in your industry. This will ensure that others send leads your way.
- Help Others
“Giving is better than receiving because it begins the receiving process.” – Jim Rohn.
If you go into every networking group looking to take, you will get a reputation. Trust me, this is not the reputation that you want. Help others, give advice, and always be willing to jump in a get your hands dirty.
- Attend Regularly
Make it an effort to attend the same networking group on a regular basis. This is the best way to get to know others and build relationships. Find a group that works for you and make it a point to get there for every meeting. This will help you find your partners.
- Find Your Wingman
This is something that I wish I had, a wingman. Your wingman is someone that attends networking events with you. This person is there for one reason, to build your confidence. Having one person that you know helps get the ball rolling. My wingman is one of my strategic partners.
- Find The Right Groups
Okay, for networking success you have to make sure you find a group that is going to benefit you. For example, I know that the majority of networking events through the Chamber of Commerce is going to attract the wrong audience for me, so I skip them. However, there is one group that is for business to business companies only and this group is full of potential clients. You are going to have to figure out what groups work for you and what groups do not work for you.
- Become A Connector
Even as an introvert you are going to get to know people and what they do. Become the person that is connecting others. Remember, that giving starts the receiving process. If you help others, they will remember and begin to recommend you to others. Being the connector in the group is very powerful.
- Use Marketing Automation
There are tons of benefits to marketing automation. One of these benefits is setting up an automated follow-up series for all your new contacts. Start with a solid welcome email telling them how you enjoyed meeting them at the event and how over the next couple days you are going to share some information about you and your company. Do not include your hard sell message, but make sure to add value. Invite them to connect with you on social media and read your blog. Add value to their day and they will remember you at the next event.
Final Thoughts on Networking Tips for The Introverted Business Owner
It takes a lot of courage to get out there and talk with people that you do not know. However, if you are going to have a successful business you have to get out there shake some hands and build relationships.
Now is networking going to solve all your business downfalls? No, you still need to develop a strong product, market it to the right people, create a blog for your business, build a solid team, find the right inbound marketing services, and fulfill your promises. It is however a great small business marketing idea. Networking is just another way to increase your revenue. You should have at least 5 revenue sources at all time. Networking is just one of them. I hope these network marketing success tips help you get out there and become more successful.