Networking for Entrepreneurs
Even though my business is primarily on the Internet, I find myself coming face to face with people on a regular basis. Whether it’s at the two live marketing events I host each year, speaking at someone else’s event, or connecting with people at meetings, I find myself connecting with prospects, clients, and entrepreneurs regularly throughout the year. The concept of specifically networking for entrepreneurs is one that had eluded me.
It used to be that I would introduce myself and give a short explanation of what I did and then focus on listening to the other person in order to get to know them and fully understand what they were doing in their business. For years I did this same thing each time and finally I grew weary of the process of repeating the same thing over and over and not seeing the value of meeting so many new people. At some point I stopped attending most the Chamber of Commerce events, and only spent time with the charitable and non-profit organizations that mean so much to me.
At my last live event I invited Leslie Cardinal to present to my group on the topic of networking. She’s an expert in this area and I knew that I would pick up some excellent tips from her, right along with my event attendees. Recently she wrote a post on her blog about Three Easy Ways to Follow Up After Networking and here is some of what she shared:
First, if you gathered some business cards from the people you met, take a minute to look through them. Don’t try to follow up with everyone you met. That can feel overwhelming. Just pick two or three or four people who seem most important to you at this time.
Second, for the handful of people that you choose to follow up with, decide on the best method for your follow up. You can call them or send them an email or a text message. Another very powerful option is to send an actual written card in the mail.
Third, see if you can find the people you just met in social media sites, especially LinkedIn and Facebook. If it seems appropriate, send them an invitation to connect. Add a sentence or two to your request to personalize it, rather than just sending a generic request. This can be as simple as “I really enjoyed meeting you at the meeting this afternoon,” or “It was great to see you again at the networking meeting yesterday.”
Aren’t these excellent ideas for networking? The whole idea with networking for entrepreneurs is to help you connect with people whom you can serve with the skills you have to offer. What other tips, ideas, and thoughts do you have about networking?