Strategic Partnerships: 4 Ways to Network with People You Do Not Know
Building strategic partnerships is a vital part of growing your business but networking can be difficult and time-consuming. Learn to make use of your Social media or events you attend; make them work for you. Networking increases your brand awareness and eventually return on your investment. Here are some ways you can make use of to grow your partnerships and networks.
Online networking groups
I am connected with a few online network groups on Facebook. You have to find the right one for you and your business whether it be local or international. Daily prompts on these groups allow you to share information about yourself and what you can offer others. You need to be actively involved in the group so do not spread yourself to thin and join too many. I prefer this option as it often costs you nothing but can help build trust and relationships. The groups I belong to often have meetups for those interested in attending and they have proven to be of value, ending in referrals.
So many networking events take place in my area and to be honest, I find it difficult to attend them, time-wise. I try to go at least one once every month and they also cost money which for small businesses can be difficult. The events usually follow a structure where a person gets an opportunity to give a 60-second elevator pitch to sell themselves which should be short, sharp and to the point. End your pitch with a call to action offering a service that they will need or know others might need. Even if you attend a party or workshop, anything could be a chance to network. I advise you to work on your pitch before attending the event and always be ready with your business card!
BUILDING GENUINE PARTNERSHIPS
Be careful of some networking events where there are forced relationships. Or where they force you to attend every meeting. Firstly, this is difficult when running your own business. Secondly, you may be forced to refer a plumber that actually does an awful job and that reflects badly on you. Ensure that you attend events that are flexible and make authentic connections.
I am a writer and tend to prefer to hide behind my work but I have learnt to “sell myself”. It was not easy, I often had impostor syndrome and felt awkward but I soon learnt that most women feel this way! Be bold! Own it! Work on your pitches, and approach people. Think about what you have to offer. Find that uniqueness in you and bring it out. Don’t be afraid to brag a little about your skills.
When attending networking events or workshops etc. Don’t walk up to random people and hand out your card, this will not help you in the slightest. Start a conversation with them and if you do not know what to say, start with a compliment. Again, a genuine compliment like “Love your necklace”, they’ll probably respond with where they got if from or who gave it to them then go ahead and ask them about them what you want to know. This next tip is important… Listen! Listen to what the person is saying, be interested and even ask questions instead of just jumping right in to sell yourself!
Networking and building partnerships are not going to guarantee you instant success. Most times you reap the rewards later. The more you do it the wider your network will grow. Remember word of mouth is a powerful tool.
Bronwyn Marcus is a Wife and Mother to 3 boys, Freelance Writer, and Blogger. She has written lifestyle articles for Inspired Women as well as Faith articles for KingdomTV International.
She has written in a variety of niches but her passion is education and helping special needs children and parents.