Networking – not a dirty word but a great way to market your reno business
Networking is not about handshaking or cocktail parties, it's anything you can do to meet new people and get word-of-mouth referrals.
By Brynna Leslie
If the idea of networking makes you shudder, it may be time to redefine what the word means to you.
Networking is not hand-shaking, cocktail party and town hall events. It’s really just about connecting with people in any way you can.
Networking is about creating your own word-of-mouth referrals.
Believe it or not, there’s an entire science related to networking. Much of it relies on this one notion: Stop socializing with people you already know.
Here are some tips to broaden your network and get that next slate of clients lined up.
1) Get out there. If there is a sporting event or a Christmas party, go and meet new people.
2) Diversify. Don’t go there to meet people you already know. Find the person in the room that you’d be least likely to talk to and strike up a conversation. We, humans, are hard-wired to interact with people like us. If you want to broaden your network, you have to stretch yourself a bit.
3) Do what you’re doing, but do some of it differently. If you like hockey and you’re coaching on your kid’s team, great. But try to sit next to a different parent at the next board meeting so you’re not always having the same conversation week to week.
4) Give back. The best networkers are people who believe in giving more than receiving. Don’t go into a meeting with a hard sell about your business. Look for opportunities to offer people free advice; to introduce them to job prospects; to refer another business (perhaps a specialist roofing company) in your area. Guaranteed future clients will remember your generosity when they’re looking for a renovations contractor.
5) Find the influencers. In every community, workplace and industry, there are individuals who stand out – who have a lot of influence over the opinions of those around them. Find them, befriend them and ride their coat tails a bit.
6) Use social media. If you’re time is constrained, you can mimic some aspects of real networking using social media. Respond to other people’s posts about their children. Take the time to read Twitter feeds once in a while. Offer advice to those who are looking for it.