21

Networking Tips For Business

Meet Ali, Another Guest Author

AliMany of my readers know that I originally developed my interest in online marketing from the desire to market a complementary therapy service online. That particular project took a nose-dive when the supplier stopped me trading world-wide, but that’s another story!

However, I still retained an interest in complementary therapy, and that was how I came across Ali from Ali’s Therapy Academy, and her article below, which is republished here with permission.

With my current interest in local business network groups, this made a helpful addition to my knowledge, and no matter what your market-place, I think you’ll find tips that will help you with your business networking – online OR offline.

About The Author, Alison Brown

Ali says: I have been passionate about holistic therapies since 2000 and have trained in massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and many other therapies since. I have also attended many seminars, workshops and conferences to help run my business, Ali’s Holistic Healing Hands.

Ali’s Therapy Academy was launched to share my experience and enthusiasm. The aim of the Therapy Academy is to provide therapists with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to set up, research, plan, maintain and market a business in the therapy industry. Therapists also learn to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues. The mission of The Academy is –

‘To advise therapists how to run a business and to create the foundation to continuously move it forward, so that they take their business seriously and create the one they want’

Over to you Ali…..

How To Get The Best Out Of Business Network Meetings

As a complementary therapist, I find in the therapy industry that when the word “marketing” is being discussed, and then networking is mentioned, most therapists find it an evil word. Something that they would not do, avoid, and definitely out of their comfort zone!

To this day this is the best form of marketing that I have done and to me if I did not do this I would not still be in business – creating leads for my database, finding new clients and referrals.

But there is a definite art to networking – I used to set off armed with lots of business cards, which I duly exchanged with the people I met.  I shook hands and ate a lot of average buffets.

After a few months, I started wondering why I hadn’t got much business from networking.  Either networking wasn’t all it was cracked up to be or I wasn’t doing it right.

When I look back to those early events and how I approached them, I have to laugh at how naive I was to expect business to flood in just because I gave out a few cards.

I had missed the “bigger picture”, and the wider benefits of networking, that I have learned now.

Benefits of Networking

  • Networking is an opportunity to increase your contacts.  If you are trying to build a list of people to market to, the contacts you make are pure gold.  Not everyone is a prospective client but you don’t know who THEY know.
  • You can compare notes. Running your own business, especially if you work alone, can be a bit isolating.  It’s quite comforting to find out you are not the only one facing challenges, and people are usually very happy to share their experiences.
  • You can keep up to date.  What’s happening in your local area?  What’s new in your industry?  Who’s moving where?  What new opportunities are out there for you?
  • It’s a great way to learn things about other groups and events, new skills knowledge, new suppliers, what your competitors are doing, new products and so on.
  • You can develop relationships for your business.  Although we all go to networking events hoping to find prospective clients for our services and products, there are other valuable relationships to develop.  Business alliances, (a business that is complementary to yours – beautician, hairdresser, fitness trainer etc) and businesses to help with yours (bookkeeper, accountant, printer, mentor, VA).

When you set up in business, clients will not ‘find’ you; you do have to let people know that you exist – one of the main reasons for networking.  Unfortunately, going to visit a group once and expecting them to remember you isn’t enough so you need to keep reminding them you are still around by attending regularly and sending those you make contact with, your newsletter.
alisbanner

Top Ten Tips To Business Networking

  1. Make a plan before you arrive.  Know why you are attending and be prepared.  You will need your networking tool kit – business cards, marketing material (flyers, newsletters, and brochures), your name badge and your message.
  2. Define your target market, who is your ideal client?
  3. Arrive with a positive attitude.
  4. Do not come to sell, but to build relationships
  5. Define your Emotional Selling Point – what makes you stand out from your competition….what makes you different, why do they need you?
  6. Develop a short 10 second teaser to engage your audience.
  7. Create a powerful and different 30 to 60 second elevator pitch.
  8. Use the event to build a referral network.
  9. Be interesting and interested.  Actively listen and ask questions.
  10. Deliver incredible value – offer to help, offer people referrals.

After The Meeting

Remember to follow up – send a thank you card to each person that you had direct contact with, include something from your discussion with them, a referral for them if you have one. Finally remember to add them to your database and marketing list.

Time Management

alistherapyEveryone has the same 24 hours in the day, however what you get out of those 24 hours depends entirely on how you spend them.  Highly successful people use their time highly successfully.  Now you may not be aiming for ‘highly successful’ but, you probably want to be more efficient and productive with your time.

‘There simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done’ I hear you cry.

There is enough time – but most people’s problem is that they try to do too much in the time available, or they didn’t organize and plan effectively, so they constantly waste time – does that sound like you?

As therapists most of us are generous with time with our clients  (and we give them the time!) but if therapists are not business minded then this is where things can go wrong and they find there is no time!

It is important to have your goal/mission/vision and how to work towards it and how do you know what you are going to do today, this week, this month?  Remember the saying ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. This is where time management comes in, when you organize yourself with systems to help with your business.

Getting The Best Out Of Technology

  • Do you have a database that can work for you?
  • Do you have a marketing planner that includes your social media and blog?
  • Do you have a filing system for all your receipts and invoices to help with bookkeeping and end of year accounts? A simple Excel (or Open Office) spreadsheet can help you cut your accountant’s costs
  • Do you have a diary that syncs up to your computer and phone? e.g. Google calendar
  • Remember to use Apps like Evernote to stores notes, ideas, photos, voice recordings etc on your phone and links to your computer.
  • If you are a mobile therapist use the App Dropbox to store clients’ notes.
  • Link up with meeting attendees on social media and interact with them.

Time Spent At Business Network Meetings

Do you worry that time spent at networking meetings may not be the best use of your time?

If you use the tips above to plan wisely, and follow-up afterwards, the few hours spent at networking meetings can turn into the most valuable hours of the working week.

Please Add Your Tips And Experiences

My thanks to Ali for sharing her networking tips for business. You can read more about Ali, and how her site Ali’s Therapy Academy helps complementary therapists build their businesses, above.

I know, from a previous post, that some of my readers “do” networking groups, and some “do not”.

Has this article changed the way you will think about business networking in the future?

If you are already an enthusiastic networker, please share your favorite business networking tips and resources in the comments below.

 

Please share
Ali's Therapy
 

I have been passionate about holistic therapies since 2000 and have trained in massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and many other therapies since. I have also attended many seminars, workshops and conferences to help run my business, Ali’s Holistic Healing Hands. This year Ali’s Therapy Academy was launched to share my experience and enthusiasm. The aim of the Therapy Academy is to provide therapists with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to set up, research, plan, maintain and market a business in the therapy industry. Therapists also learn to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues. The mission of The Academy is - ‘To advise therapists how to run a business and to create the foundation to continuously move it forward, so that they take their business seriously and create the one they want’

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 21 comments
Mike Gardner - March 16, 2015

A good article with some good tips around all ares of networking, particularly the vitally important subject of Time Management 😉

Reply
    Joy - March 16, 2015

    Hi Mike,

    Glad you found the article helpful and useful points for making the most of your time. Otherwise networking could so easily
    turn into a drain on your time, instead of a useful way to spend a few hours.

    Have a great week, Joy

    Reply
David - March 16, 2015

A good article. I agree with the above top ten networking tips. I’d only add that you have to keep varying your presentations. After a while you’ll find you keep meeting the same people networking and you’ll lose their attention if you keep to the same ‘script’. I come up with different topics or aspects of our business each month and also tie them in with what is current in our niche.

Also be clear about and mention your ideal prospects. You never know the connections people in the room may have.

Reply
    Joy - March 16, 2015

    Hi David

    Thanks for those extra tips – both very important. I find it helpful to try and relate the current month’s “presentation” to something “current” – so, for instance, a complementary therapist could include tips about seasonal health problems.

    And, yes, if your ideal prospect happens to be someone a fellow networker knows, so much the better.

    Great thoughts, thanks for your contribution.

    Joy

    Reply
Edward Thorpe - March 16, 2015

Hi Ali and Joy,

Excellent tutorial style post which covered much more than networking.

For me, the most telling point was building relationships, not selling. Killer strategy.

Thank you,
Edward

Reply
    Joy - March 16, 2015

    Hi Edward

    Glad you liked the post.

    Yes, I think you picked up the most important thing that people often get wrong.

    We were only commenting at a meeting the other day how many people come to ONE meeting, then never come back again – presumably because they haven’t grasped that important point!

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

    Reply
Sandy - March 18, 2015

Great sharing tips on networking, Joy and Alison. Building trusting relationship is indeed the top key factor in any successful business. Be it with your fellow biz or personal friends alike. I always believe even fierce competitors can be friends.

Yes, when comes to business setting, make every meeting count. Thanks for this awesome post.

To both your Abundance, Sandy 🙂

Reply
    Joy - March 18, 2015

    Hi Sandy,

    Glad you found the article helpful.

    That’s a very good point that business competitors can still be friends. If that’s the case there could be instances when they could help each other out because of shared knowledge.

    Have a great week, Joy

    Reply
rahul - March 18, 2015

Hello Joy,
A decent article with some great tips around all ares of business networking, especially the crucially vital subject of Time Management.

Reply
    Joy - March 18, 2015

    Hi Rahul,

    I’m glad you found the article useful and hope you will be able to apply the tips usefully in your business.

    Joy

    Reply
Mukesh - March 19, 2015

Hi Joy and Ali,
Great post, i really liked reading you post especially top 10 tips and time management. Keep sharing such information.

Regards
Mukesh

Reply
Swadhin Agrawal - March 19, 2015

Hi Joy and Ali,
loved these tips on business and networking. I think time management is more necessary in order to have a great performance.
Likewise, as you said, making the best use of technology can get us more productive and doing more stuff than we could otherwise do.
Thanks for these tips 🙂

Reply
    Joy - March 21, 2015

    Hi Swadhin,

    Glad you found the tips helpful. Time management is something I need to work on, so I use technology as much as I can.

    Have a good weekend, Joy

    Reply
Jan Kearney - March 20, 2015

As you know Joy, I find networking really uncomfortable and tend not to do it… I have recently started getting out and about a little more attending BizMums network events (they’ve been a lovely group of mixed experienced networkers and brand new to the scene peeps).

I loved the tips – particularly the building relationships. One of the reasons I avoid meetings is the feeling of being pounced on and sold to. I’ll be honest that tends to come from the network marketers (sorry guys and girls – If I am ever interested in your opportunity I can look up details or contact you, now leave me alone!)

Ok, off to work on my emotional pitch!

Reply
    Joy - March 20, 2015

    Hi Jan

    I have to smile that you find it uncomfortable to go to networking events, yet you’re brave enough to be standing up and TALKING at Business Boost. That’s WAY outside my comfort zone. I bet you’ll be great.

    Well, no-one likes to be sold to – especially without some sort of relationship having been built up. I’ve done my share of network marketing but long ago learned not to try and sell overtly. We do get quite a few people dropping in their “company tagline”, which is usually fresh and brand new to them, and it’s quite amusing when they realize we’ve seen and heard it all before – especially to some of the better established companies. Being of a gentle nature I usually say “Oh yes, I just love the XYZ products” and keep to myself the thought “I buy them cheap on eBay from distributors selling off excess stock”.

    Enjoy your event – wish I lived near enough to Runcorn to go and hear it!

    Have a great weekend. Joy

    Reply
      Jan Kearney - March 21, 2015

      I know, I’m not “normal” Joy 🙂

      It is far easier for me to speak to a group of people about something I love and know a bit about than to speak 1-to-1 about “me” and my business. The first few minutes are a bit hard but once I start enthusing – well my struggle is to keep it within a time frame haha.

      Have a great weekend too 🙂

      Reply
Mialei - March 21, 2015

Hi, Joy,

One tip I have never forgotten: Gather more business cards than you give. My only problem is that I do not maintain a central place for all those little gems. I still want to find one particular card that should have been saved. Building relationships is much more difficult when we cannot find contact information.

Some people say to order 1000 business cards and give them away within 2 months. I have never found 1000 people who were that interested in anything.

Great post.
— Mialei

Reply
    Joy - March 21, 2015

    Hi Mialei,

    That’s a good tip about collecting cards, but I must confess I haven’t yet organised a filing system – which should be SO simple…

    Heavens, I don’t give 1000 away a year! Perhaps that’s what I’m doing wrong 🙂

    Have a good weekend, Joy

    Reply
Sonam Gupta - March 23, 2015

Hi,

Great tips share about networking.After reading your post I really liked your top ten tips as you explain this post.Thanks to share this useful tips with us.

Have a great day!

Reply

Leave a Reply: