Getting in front of the right target audiences is critical for your business, and for many of you reading this, networking is one of the pieces of your marketing puzzle to help you do this effectively.
Your network is truly your net worth.
The good news is that your network doesn’t have to be huge – it’s the quality of your network that matters. And the best part? You can build your network authentically and enjoyably while generating profitable results.
And don’t stress…Networking does not have to feel like hard work! Read on to learn how networking does not have to feel like work!
Business is divided into three basic compartments:
Yes, these are essential parts of any business, but there’s a critical piece many haven’t factored in…SELF-WORK! It’s one of the most overlooked things leaders need to work on to be successful with networking and the #1 reason I find that marketing isn’t working overall for so many organizations!
The business you build needs to support your life, not the other way around. When you invest the time to work on yourself, your business will shift, and networking will actually feel enjoyable…even fun!
Self-work is not only the missing ingredient in a business structure – it is the true underpinning that will support all of it. You can’t continually serve others without pausing regularly to do the deep work on yourself.
Nourished leaders run nourishing organizations!
- Being aware of the energy you’re creating from.
- Choosing where you focus your time and energy.
- Attending only the events that nourish you.
- Knowing which clients/work light you up.
- Having a business that supports the life you want.
Laying the Foundation
There is an underlying process to achieving success in anything, and networking is no exception. There needs to be a strong root system in place before you sow and grow.
Clarity and Alignment
Get crystal clear on your expertise, personality, and style. The ancient Greek maxim, “Know thyself,” is still sound wisdom today, and this foundational step is critical for success in networking, business, and life.
Questions to ask (of yourself and on behalf of your business):
- Who are you….really?
- What is your story?
- What exactly do you do, and WHY?
- Whom do you serve?
- What sets you apart?
- What are your values?
- Are you an Introvert, an Extrovert, or an Ambivert (a little of both)?
- Does technology light you up or make your eyes glaze over?
- Are you sassy or serious? Formal or casual?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
It is so important for marketing to align your personality with your messaging and marketing channels. It will reflect across all platforms, in all your communications, and in the imagery you select.
- Your appearance
- The type of content you provide
- Your social media profiles
- The photos you use
- How you like to communicate – email, blog post, FB Live, etc.
Once you’ve figured all that out, you can network authentically in a way that’s in alignment with your expertise, personality, and unique style. AND, you will save time by eliminating the people who aren’t interested in you or what you do and put you front and center of your tribe.
Now let’s look at some success strategies for optimizing your network with ease.
Networking Success Strategies
1. Show up.
This one’s a no-brainer, or it should be. Show up and be on time, ready to participate.
2. Be present.
Listen and learn about your new connections, who they are, what they do, and how you can serve them.
3. Do your homework.
Know who you are networking with and especially for follow-up meetings, Google the people and know about them so you are networking strategically.
4. Give to Gain.
Be prepared to give value. How can you help? Networking is not a one-way street.
5. Protect your time.
Choose your networking events and calls wisely and set healthy boundaries around them. Let your new connections know upfront how much time you have for the call. Be prepared to bring the conversation back into focus if it begins to veer out of control. Your time is valuable.
6. Ask for what you want.
Nobody succeeds on their own. If you can’t ask for what you want, don’t be surprised when you don’t get it.
“I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”
― Jessie B. Rittenhouse
7. Create compelling copy.
Look closely at the word Authority – do you see the word “Author” in there? We do! That’s because when you write, you’re writing as an authority or expert on the subject. Here are some tips to help you create authentic, compelling copy.
- Remember the 3 V’s.
Voice your Value and your Values. Let your readers know the value of what you are providing, and as you speak in your brand voice, you’ll be authentically reflecting your values. Remember, people don’t buy products or services; they buy the why of the people or company behind them. Make it easy and clear for them to choose you.
- Be a web gemologist.
You don’t have to come up with original content every time. If you share gems of wisdom from other people’s blog posts, providing you credit or tag them, you don’t have to come up with all the content on your own. Isn’t that a relief?
- Repurpose and Recycle.
You can extract content from something you’ve written previously and revise it a little. For example, you can:
- Transcribe a podcast and make it into a blog post.
- Use a blog post to write an email. Or vise versa.
- Extract meaningful snippets from blog posts for Instagram posts.
The fact is that no one is going to read – or remember – every single thing you put out, as much as we might want to think otherwise.
FUN FACT: This blog post was inspired by a talk I recently gave at a women’s networking group. I gave my slides to a team member to help write this and here I am finishing the post. I know that I need to do what I do best and pay others to do the rest and help my clients to do the same!
- Respond and Engage.
When someone comments in response to something you’ve written, respond with a comment and engage with them. It’s also a good idea to leave meaningful comments on other people’s pages and engage with them there. You’re building authentic relationships that will comprise your network, remember?
- Ask for help.
You don’t have to go it alone. If you don’t have the time, desire, or ability to create compelling copy, hire it out to someone. That frees you up to work on other aspects of your business. I wouldn’t have this post done without asking for help. I run a marketing agency and speak and guide entrepreneurs, you think I have all day to blog? Nooo…..
And last but by no means least, let’s look at one more piece in the puzzle of successful networking:
Every action begins as a thought. We need to cultivate a positive, can-do mindset. Staying connected to positive-minded people, Scripting, using Affirmations, self-care – all of these contribute to emotions higher on the Emotional Scale. Practice awareness of your emotional level so that you are free to move in a direction that brings you closer to your goals.
What doesn’t work?
Emotions like Shame, Compare Despair (as I like to call it) and Being Competitive. These emotions are way down on the Emotional Scale and either paralyze us or cause us to make poor decisions. Every one of us is on a unique journey, and each one looks different. Bonus? We get to choose the set of our minds and move up the Emotional Scale when we slip.
Networking is a beautiful thing. It can get you in front of the right target audience so you can build relationships, referrals, and new opportunities. You don’t have to be an extrovert or salesy, but you do need to be your own unique, wild, and wonderful self, and have fun networking!