While on a panel of women-owned businesses hosted by the Junior League of Long Beach, one of the coordinators, Casey, stated, “Network or No Work!” This sums it up quite well.
As I cover in my marketing guidebook, Laws of Promotion, Newton’s first law of motion is “a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.” When you network you build momentum. One connection leads to the next, to the next. Pretty soon you are surrounded with people who support you and refer you. Ultimately, your network works for you.
Growing Your Network
How do you expand your customer base? Your network is composed of people who can use you and refer you. You develop that network, well, by networking. I know it sounds like something of a bygone era but successful business people have strong networks that often started by meeting in groups. Whether specifically networking, volunteering, participating in a professional association, or other nexus, they are brought together with people whom they can develop a relationship. Those relationships, when nurtured, become a network organically. You refer them clients, they refer you clients and the network expands.
If you think it’s too old school for you, then you might miss out. People work with people. For that simple truth, they are more likely to refer people who they have met and worked with than referring strangers.
Call to Action
What is your call to action? If you don’t state it, your customers cannot respond appropriately. Further, you will not be clear about asking until you know exactly what you want them to do. This might be a tiered proposition. They can hire you for implementation or can invest in a class you offer. The very first step might be to join your mailing list—start asking there. Everything you do builds a path for your prospective customer to follow on their journey from a prospect to a bona fide customer.
You need to set-up good, consistent habits to secure loyal customers. Networking events are only the beginning. When you’re there decide who you want as a customer and who makes an ideal referral source for you. Follow-up with those people! Connect on LinkedIn, call them, email them, make a meeting so you can learn more about them. Then keep in touch. You need a system, is what I’m saying!
Like the coordinator said, network or no work!
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon.