It’s a startling statistic for anyone looking for work…. 80% of all jobs AREN’T found through submitting resumes, online job sites, or even Craigslist.
They’re found through networking…meeting other people… talking to folks in person.
Fact is, people like to do business with those they like…
… and the best way to build those relationships is to talk with others in person.
What’s more, when you own your business, you’re not just looking for that one time job. But, you’ve got to constantly meet new people to fuel incoming work.
After all, even if you do a great job for your clients… for whatever reasons, they may decide not to use you again. Their needs change over time. You need new folks coming in the door.
Of course, networking may not be your strong suit or you simply don’t enjoy it very much.
So, what can you do to make it more enjoyable and walk away with great connections?
Here are my best tips:
- Get into a regular network with other business owners in your area. Rather than constantly searching for new groups, you can establish yourself as the “IT guy.” In most areas, there are referral groups where only one person in each type of business is allowed to join. So, when someone needs to an IT guy, they go to you. To find a group quickly, you can check with your local Chamber of Commerce or see if there’s a local BNI chapter near you. Another easy way to find groups in your area is to use Meetup.com.
- Ask questions. People love talking about themselves. Inside the book, “How To Make Friends and Influence Other People,” Dale Carnegie tells an anecdote about going to a dinner party. During the evening, he did nothing but ask the person sitting next to him about herself. Never once did he talk about himself. At the end of the night, the person commented that he was the “most interesting person she had ever met.”
- Go in ready to learn. Before you go, think about what you want to walk away with. What are you struggling with and who at the event might have answers to help you?
- Go in ready to give. For a group to be successful, members have to be actively finding and giving other members quality referrals. If everyone does some giving, hopefully everyone will also be getting. If however, instead of going out to find those referrals, everyone decides to simply sit back and wait for the referrals to start rolling in just because they attended a meeting, well, everyone will likely be sitting and waiting a good long time.
- Build relationships or even partner with others who are good networkers. It may not be what you enjoy doing most, but there may be opportunities to build friendships with others who enjoy connecting folks who should know each other.
- Meet one-on-one in a social setting. Find the members you connect with and arrange to meet someplace local and casual. Starbucks is often a safe bet. The casual setting creates a less formal atmosphere, where it becomes easier to develop a rapport. And having a good rapport is the cornerstone of building a strong relationship.
- Get your 30 second “elevator pitch” down pat. When others ask what you do for a living, you should be able to explain what you do in a way where the listener instantly gets why he or she can use your service. If he or she runs a small business and has computers that need maintenance, then he or she should get how you make money, save money, and eliminate headaches.
Simply put, networking doesn’t have to be something you dread. It can be easy, profitable, and even fun. Something you look forward to each month.
If you’re in NY, maybe I’ll see you out there.