Get Out There and Network
By Vicki Garcia, Co-Founder Veteran Entrepreneurs Today
With the advent of the internet you’d think the “old-fashioned” effectiveness of business networking has been left in the dust. No
t true! Face-to-face contact is, and always will be, the number one way to grow your business.
I’m currently coaching a veteran entrepreneur who is highly skilled in what he does. But, he’s uncomfortable meeting new people. He has to get over this if he is to succeed. Shyness is a luxury an entrepreneur cannot afford.
Visibility Builds Trust
Often the most competent competitor doesn’t win. Ask 100 people what is the best burger in town, and many of them will say McDonald’s. Because there is one on every corner, they are perceived as the best. They have visibility. Visibility builds trust. Hide b
ehind your computer, and you will be the competitor who loses.
Business groups will urge you to show up consistently. This is because they know that half the battle is being seen, becoming a familiar face and reintroducing your business over and over again. Networking gets easier the more you do it.
You never know what you’ll find or who you will meet. Attracting new business, forging alliances, opening up opportunities…all are waiting for you if you will just get out there.
8 Networking Tips
- Networking is not for making a sale on the spot. If you’re all about selling, people will avoid you.
- Don’t sit with your friends. Sit with a table of strangers and converse with all of them.
- Once you find a promising organization, volunteer to help at the check in table where you will meet everyone who arrives.
- Look for first timers. Walk up to them, stick out your hand and say “Hi, I’m (your name). What do you do?
- Get to know the organization’s decision makers and power brokers. Be helpful to them.
- Find out who determines the speakers. Your trustworthiness will grow rapidly if you speak.
- Don’t waste your money on display tables. Instead, network with the people around the display tables.
- Besides looking for customers, also look for people you might team with, or who could be good referral sources.
Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30-year-old marketing firm. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org and join the VET Meetup at https://www.meetup.com/Veteran-Entrepreneurs-Today/