The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still rings true in a digital age. Read more for tips on how to network your brand to the top.
Networking, the single word that collectively brings groans to the lips of antisocial individuals. Nevertheless, getting to know others in the industry is part of being a part of a thriving business. But how do you meet the right people while avoiding the awkwardness of putting yourself in the limelight?
Many pay high registration fees, purchase the extended LinkedIn account or spend copious amounts of time at organisations and clubs to get to know the movers and shakers of industry. What if we told you that there was another way?
We’ve culminated advice from the experts to help you promote yourself and your business the right way to help you in your networking endeavours….
Are you ready for the secret? We will give you a hint, it’s all about motivation
Whenever you walk into a room full of people that you want to get to know, your goal is to find out how you can help them with their projects – not the other way around. This may seem to be the complete opposite of meeting the leaders of industry to boost your own reputation, but this is a cold, hard truth.
By helping anyone and everyone you come across, you create a long line of well wishers. Each of these individuals will promote and suggest your skills and business to anyone they come across. Now mind you, this is not an exact science, but after one conversation you will be convinced.
Five tips for networking success:
Forget your own agenda
You may walk in the door thinking of all the ways that you could be helped by the collective knowledge and experience, this is not a path to success. Instead, forget your own agenda and try to think of ways that you can add to a pool of collected knowledge. Remember this mantra, how can I help?
Never dismiss someone as unimportant
From the doorman to the buser, never think that an individual you come across in unimportant to your path. A kind word and respectful handshake builds relationships that can spread over time. Have you ever sought to hire a company and then discounted it because of a sour encounter with an employee? It happens all the time. Ensure that you are not the cause of someone else’s bad opinion of your business.
Volunteer whenever you have a free moment
Partnering your business with nonprofits is an essential way to build brand reputation and meet other like minded businesses along the way. Building your company within a community creates multitudes of connections and warmth towards your establishment – not to mention, you will be doing real good for the people you see as potential customers. Apply your interests to the common good of your city and the benefits will quickly become apparent.
Attend conventions that don’t fit your industry
If you are looking to network, why would you only attend conventions that directly benefit you? The only people you will meet will be your competitors. Try to branch out across many industries that are closely related, but not directly. For example, if you sell shoes – don’t limit yourself to shoe conventions – take a look at the sock organizations, or maybe even conventions for shoelaces? In all seriousness, I doubt there are shoelace conventions, but hopefully you see the point. Don’t limit yourself when meeting new people, you never know where one chance encounter could take you.
Ask for help when in a bind
Remember this: people love to help one another. If you find yourself in a situation that you can’t fix by yourself, reach out to the experts. Don’t expect anything for free, but contact your new associations and explain your problem. You will be surprised at how quickly you make a new friend. This also creates a situation where others will turn to you for help. For example, you have a leaky faucet. You have the following options for plumbers: the big corporation that will be cheaper and faster, or Joe, the guy down the street that you met at a restaurant. You may want to pick the cheap conglomerate – but don’t. If you are trying to establish your business or your brand, always pick Joe – because this will establish a relationship and another point of contact in your network.
Having troubles establishing yourself either locally or on a digital space? Don’t fret. VKN Digital can help you find the right people to find the right customers. Reach out to us today.
Kelly Kirkham is a staff writer at VKN Digital, UK who specialise in increasing conversions, sales and the bottom line www.viviennekneale.com.