Lately, I’ve been surprised at how many business owners do not make any outside connections that will help them grow their business. With social media being such a huge part of our lives, I think many people let real connections fall to the wayside. Not good, people! Social media is amazing. Growing your email list rocks. But there’s nothing like making a good, old-fashioned connection with a business owner who is doing something that compliments your business, and growing your businesses together through those relationships! Not sure how to approach someone you’d love to know more about (or already know you’d love to team up with!)? Here are four simple networking tips that will help you get connected!
1. Make the Connection (the most important of all the networking tips, which is also often the most intimidating!)
Seriously, this is the hardest part. It doesn’t have to be scary! I know, reaching out to someone can be intimidating. They could say “no”. They could laugh in your face. Maybe they’ll even tell everyone how utterly ridiculous you are.
But most likely, they won’t.
Especially because before you reach out to them, you’ll do some research. Stalk them on social media a little bit, get a feel for the type of person they are. If you’re someone who is bubbly and uplifting, but you realize the person you’re considering reaching out to is all about the scare tactics and shaming, maybe stay away. Unless you secretly like that kind of thing. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their social media accounts and watching how they interact with people.
Next, keep it simple! Some people think they can’t possibly approach someone until they have a grand plan to pitch, but that’s not always important! Sometimes, just a simple “hey, I love what you’re doing, and I would love to chat with you to learn more!” is enough! It keeps the vibe casual, doesn’t feel slimy, and does exactly what you need- it gets you in the door!
If even the idea of a simple “hey, let’s chat” email has you reaching for a Zanex, relax!
Sometimes baby steps are needed. I get it! If you find someone you love, follow them on social media, jump on their email list, whatever you need to do to be visible. Start commenting on their posts, and reply to their email once in a while and let them know what you like about it.
Being authentic, and setting out to encourage people, opens doors.
2. Set up a Time to Chat
I mentioned this in step 1, and it is SO important! Exchanging emails back and forth for two weeks is time-consuming, and annoying. After you’ve made the connection, and feel like the recipient is open to you, suggest getting together! If the person is local, awesome! Wine or coffee date it is. If meeting in person isn’t an option, set a time to jump on a video call. Then, you can see each other, and get to know each other in a more personal way.
3. Spoil Them a Little
Once you’ve talked, keep loving on them! Everyone loves having a cheerleader in their corner. Don’t go being all stalker status, and keep it genuine! When they do something great, and you think “that was really good”, tell them so!
When they write a great blog post, share it on social media and tag them.
If this person sends some clients your way, show your appreciation! I’m big on mail, and email is what everyone tends to use, so wow them by sending them a handwritten thank you note and a little token of your appreciation!
4. Brainstorm Ways to Collaborate That Benefit You Both
Don’t even think about getting a case of the gimmies (anyone else grow up reading Berenstein Bears under the covers with a flashlight?)! It’s all about give and take, so always be sure you’re offering them value, if you’re asking them to help you. If you become someone who is always asking for them to do an interview for your Periscope broadcast or share your blog posts, but you’re never returning the favor, you’ll burn bridges, fast. Just don’t do it! If you’re not sure what you can do, ask!
If someone came to me and asked what they could do to help me boost my business, I would love them forever. Wouldn’t you?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do a little research and come up with three people you’d love to get to know a little better, and possibly collaborate with down the road, and reach out to them! No excuses.
How do you feel about reaching out and touching other business owners? Do you feel comfortable creating connections with business owners you admire? Tell me all about it in the comments (and share your favorite networking tips!), or by shooting me an email here! You know how much I love hearing from you!
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