What has networking done for you?
Hmm, I pondered this question the morning after attending the fabulous LinkedIn Local Farnham event last week at The Lost Boy. I had conversations about how I grew my business and where my clients come from. I’m not that consistent with my marketing, although, that is changing as I now know what messages I want to send out, so it was obvious that most of my clients originated from attending networking events.
When you get to know someone (and vice versa), after a few months you feel more confident and happier to refer them. You’ve built up that all important ‘know like and trust’. You have a better grasp than ever of what they do in their business. You know more about their personality and their work ethic. You see, it does take time to do that. You need to build that into your considerations when you start your business. What might appear as someone’s ‘overnight success’ could well have taken them years to build.
I have met a wonderful group of people from various networking groups who have championed me. Told others that ‘you need an Angie’. Clients have referred me too and I feel honoured when they do.
When I first started to network, I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights. It was scary. I had to talk about me and blow my own trumpet, which I was told as a kid is not a good thing to do. It takes courage, for some, to walk into a room at an event. If you see someone hanging out on the side-lines, bring them in to your conversations, please.
When it came to my first pitch, I stuttered and stammered, went bright red. I was in a room full of women who gently encouraged to tell my story. I will never forget the kindness I received from them. I am still good friends with those people now and they are my prime referrers.
Over the last 18 months, we have had to network a completely different way. We mastered how to communicate at events on Zoom. Organisers have new skills on creating breakout rooms, muting others so they can speak – telling people ‘You’re on mute’. Even this week I have heard that one and it still makes me smile…I’ve done that loads too!
I felt stronger in the Zoom calls, more in control. I do like networking that way. But you can’t beat a face-to-face chinwag and catch up with like minded people. People trying to make a living, surviving, and growing awesome businesses.
If you get a chance, get out there. Network. Meet new people. Have fun. BE YOU!