When was the last time you utilized networking as a tool to find leads? The idea of networking might seem intimidating to some small business owners, but it can help you successfully find new customers.
At the heart of networking is forming great relationships with others that will become advocates for your business. Here are a few tips on how you can network with others to generate more leads.
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What Is Networking?
You might be wondering why networking is important? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
Given the definition, networking can have a huge impact on your business. Networking can happen both at the local level, with people in your area, or nationally with others working in your trade. Either way, these connections can help you find more jobs and aid in the success of your business. Having a network of other contractors can be beneficial, but you do have to put yourself out there to meet people and be prepared to share about your business goals.
Of course, you don’t have to network with only professionals in your industry. Small business owners of any kind can be an extremely useful resource when it comes to referring new leads your way.
1. Get Involved In Your Community
One of the best ways to use networking to find new leads in your area is by getting involved in your community. Look for events or meetups for small business owners. Local businesses in your area can be your biggest ally when it comes to finding new business.
If there’s a chamber of commerce meetings or events, be sure to put it on your calendar. Some smaller towns and neighborhoods participate in a welcome gift of some sort, offering a discount of local services for new residents. Connect with your local chamber of commerce and see what you can participate in to help you network with other small businesses and homeowners. Getting involved and supporting your community is the best place to start.
2. Utilize LinkedIn
With a huge focus on social media to advertise your business, LinkedIn is a great tool to network with others. But in fact, LinkedIn is utilized first and foremost as a networking site. You’ll never know what reaching out to a connection will do for your business. Connect with those you know and ask to start a conversation with them about what they’re up to and how your business might be able to assist them. Join a group specific to your trade where you can connect with other pros in your industry.
3. Always Have A Business Card Ready
If you don’t have a business card, now’s the time to get one. A business card is key to quickly handing your information off to a client or interested businesses with ease. Your business card will represent you and your business, so be sure to include the most important information on it and any branding. Read 7 Tips For The Best Business Card to learn more about creating one that leaves an impression.
However, what good is a business card if you don’t have one on you when you need it? Always be sure to carry a few cards wherever you go; you never know when you’ll meet someone that’s interested in learning more about what you do.
4. Connect On The Job
It’s likely at one time or another, you’ll be working with other pros on the job site. It’s the perfect time to network with them and keep in touch, even after the job is over. If they were impressed by your work, they might refer you to someone else who needs your services.
Remember this goes both ways. If you meet with someone who could benefit from a service of someone you trust, pay it forward and pass their information along.
5. Ask For Referrals
The best networking relationships happen with transparency. So, if you’re looking for new leads or referrals, just ask. It’s likely that your network will be more than willing to help you connect with people who might be looking for your service.
6. Maintain Relationships
Networking with other like-minded small business owners can result in more business but also will take time to cultivate. Don’t expect new leads simply by meeting a few new people. Be sure to reach out to new contacts on LinkedIn and stay involved with the happenings of their business. If they come to you for advice or assistance, be sure to help if you can. After all, networking is all about forming better business relationships and that can help all succeed.
Networking is a great way to connect with other contractors and small business owners in your area. This can help you find new leads and win more jobs. Use a few of these tactics to help you grow your professional network.
Looking for more ideas to generate more leads? Read How To Generate More Leads Online.