Life itself is only a vision – a dream…RSS
There is no doubt that being a small business owner is more work than any full-time job. Not only do you have to manage the business, it is up to you ensure the business keeps growing. This involves wearing a number of different hats, including being your company’s sales representative.
When faced with a limited sales budget, many small business owners turn to cold calling to drum up new clients. The main issue with cold calling—aside from being a general annoyance to both caller and receiver—is its relatively low success rate.
There is another way to generate business, and it is far more productive than having your ear pressed against a phone all afternoon. Every business person knows about networking, but it may not be exactly what you think. It is about more than business relationships; it is about getting out from behind the desk and building a community.
Get out there and meet people. Networking is all about people. I cannot overstress the value of connecting with people. The person next to you in line at the grocery store may be your next big client, but you will never know unless you seize the opportunity to talk with them.
Take the time. Have you ever seen the cartoon where two trapped, starving toons start to imagine each other as a juicy steak or walking roasted chicken? Well, that is the wrong way to look at networking. Treat each person you meet as a potential friend and not just a potential mark. Take the time to get to know about them as a person, and you may get more out of it than you bargained for.
You are not the center of the universe. Your parents probably told you this countless times when you were a kid and the same holds true in networking. Do not think of yourself as the epicenter of the network, but rather as a node in a much larger set of connections. Networks expand out in many directions and you should try to help connect people the best you can. If you can help someone out with your connections, then they will most likely try to do the same for you.
It’s about who you know. To be successful in sales, it always helps to know someone on the inside. Even if a person is not someone in the company who can help you directly, they still may be able to help you get your foot in the door. Sometimes all you need is a person vouching for you to help get the ball rolling.
Get involved. I know you may not have a lot of free time, but you should do your best to get involved in your community. By joining a club or volunteer group, you can build relationships with others by a shared interest in doing good works. Not only that, you are helping to make your community a better place to live, and that is something everyone can benefit from.
Networking isn’t always about knowing someone directly, but more often it is about knowing someone who knows someone. By taking the time to get to know people, you can build a strong network that connects you to a community of people who are willing to help each other out.