Networking is not just about meeting new people. It is about building strong, mutually beneficial relationships. Whether you’re new to business networking or a seasoned pro, understanding how others can promote you and your business is essential.
Has a fellow member from your networking group ever said to you, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you with your business.”?
If so, did you respond with, “Thank you. Now that you mention it, there are a few things I need.”?
Or maybe you said something like, “Well, thanks, I appreciate that. I’ll let you know.”
Most of us aren’t prepared to accept help at the time it’s offered, which means the opportunity may pass and we miss out. Before you can do so, you must make the connection between specific items, services, or connections you need and the people who can supply them. Systematic referral marketing helps you do that by determining, as precisely as possible, the types of help you want and need. Some are simple, cheap, and quick; others are complex, costly, and time-consuming.
Here are 15 ways others can promote you to help your business.
Display or Distribute Your Materials
Your networking partners can exhibit your marketing materials and products in their offices or homes. If these items are displayed well, such as on a counter or a bulletin board, visitors will ask questions about them. Promotional items can be shared in other places, leading to increased visibility and potential interest. For example, a dry cleaner can attach a neighboring hair salon’s coupon to the bags covering their customers’ clothes.
When attending meetings or addressing groups, your network can boost your visibility by announcing an event or a sale your business is conducting. They can set up exhibits of your products or services. They can also invite you to make an announcement yourself, amplifying your reach.
Invite You to Events
Workshops and seminars are opportunities to increase your skills, knowledge, visibility, and contacts. Members of personal or business groups that you don’t belong to can invite you to their events and programs. These opportunities provide a platform to meet prospective sources and clients. Additionally, being invited to speak at such events can establish you as an expert in your field.
Endorse Your Products and Services
When your network sings your praises or endorses your products or services, it can significantly influence others’ decisions. Encourage them to share their positive experiences through informal conversations and with testimonials on social media or other platforms.
Your referrals sources can nominate you for service awards, recognizing your contributions to your profession or your community. This not only enhances your visibility, it also positions you as a dedicated professional in the eyes of your peers and clients.
Make Initial Contact with Prospects and Referral Sources
Instead of merely sharing their contact information, a network member can introduce you to important prospects. This personal touch can build relationships faster and provide the prospect or potential referral source with insight into your business as well as shared interests they may have with you.
Arrange Meetings on Your Behalf
Your network can go a step further by coordinating meetings with key contacts. Ideally, they will set the date, time, and location, and they will attend the meeting with you, offering support and insights.
Leverage your network’s connections to have your business featured in publications they influence. For example, a referral source who belongs to an association that publishes a monthly newsletter can help you get an article or story published, boosting your visibility.
Form Strategic Alliances with You
Of all the kinds of support that a source can offer, this one has the greatest potential for long-term gain for both parties. These partnerships involve mutual referrals, creating a symbiotic connection that benefits both of you. Seek out businesses that complement your own and foster lasting gains by agreeing to refer business to each other whenever possible.
Connect with You Through Online Networks
Expand your online presence by connecting with your networking partners on social platforms. This opens the door to event notifications, project updates, and the exchange of business information. Recommendations and testimonials from these connections can further elevate your online profile.
Referrals are the lifeblood of business networking. Encourage your sources to refer specific individuals who require your services or products. As the number of referrals you receive increases, so does your potential for increasing the percentage of your business generated through referrals.
Personal introductions are powerful. Your network can facilitate introductions with prospective customers, providing key information about you and the prospect, which can expedite the relationship building process.
Follow Up with Referrals
Your sources can follow up with prospects they referred to you to ensure a smooth transition and answer questions or concerns, enhancing trust. They can also give you valuable feedback about yourself and your products or service, which you might not have been able to get on your own.
Serve as a Sponsor
Some of your sources may be willing to fund or sponsor a program or event you are hosting. They may offer resources such as lending you equipment, or they might let you use a meeting room, or provide other support that can elevate your business activities.
Sell Your Products and Services
The most immediate way your network can positively impact your bottom line is by selling your products or services. A well-connected source can persuade a prospect to make a purchase, then have you deliver the product to your new client. If you do so swiftly and cordially, you may gain a lifelong customer.
Networking is a dynamic and multifaceted endeavor. Put your networking circle to work for you with these strategies to harness the power of your network and promote your business effectively. When others offer their support in promoting your business, seize the opportunity and deploy these strategies for success. By cultivating these mutually beneficial relationships, you can supercharge your business’s growth and impact.