1) If you are reading this blog, then you have already taken the first step for networking your business- by joining a Chamber. People like to do business with people they know and trust, and getting yourself out there to the many events offered by NACC and other Chambers, will let people to get to know you and allow you to nurture the relationships that you form over a period of time. It’s also a good idea to consider joining one of the NACC T.E.A.M. Leads groups –now you have a sales forces of 10-20 people acting on your behalf to help grow your business.
2) Make it a part of your regular routine to schedule Chamber events into your calendar. It’s good to have 2-3 per week regularly on your calendar. Include the many Chamber ribbon cuttings as possible networking events. Read up on the news, The Business Ledger, your community calendar for other events to attend and meet people.
3) When you attend a networking event, have your 30-second elevator speech ready to introduce yourself. But more importantly, have 3-5 questions readily available to ask those you meet to get them to talk. Good examples are:
a) What are some of the challenges occurring in your business/industry?
b) What business trends are impacting you and your organization?
c) Tell me a little about the customers with whom you like to do business.
d) What are your top priorities for the rest of the year?
e) What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
4) Make it a point to try to have 3-4 good conversations at a networking event and take the time to learn about their business. Meeting 10-15 people and passing out tons of business cards is not the goal-having a lengthy conversation with 2-3 people is much more important. Always look to how you can help them or give them a referral for their business. They will reciprocate when they are meeting their connections too.
5) Always have your business cards on hand to pass along to someone wherever you may meet new people- children’s sporting events, church socials, volunteer activities/events that you participate in, a neighborhood social event, a seminar you attend, a new committee you join…the list is endless. You may strike up a conversation with someone in a doctor’s waiting room- always be prepared to be able to talk about your services and have a business card available. Finally, be sure to follow-up with meaningful potential clients within a week or less after you met them- to set up to have coffee, meet again, connect on social media, or any next steps to help them learn more about your business.
Kathy Wright is V.P.-Sales and Marketing for Paint-Right Painting Inc, a Naperville Family Owned and Operated Business of 35+ years. The painting company offers Interior/Exterior Painting and Staining for both Residential and Commercial , as well as Additional Homes Services of Power Washing , Exterior Wood Replacement and Gutter Cleaning. Paint-Right Painting Inc has an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau.