The Power of Networking: It’s Easier Than You Think

09-2013PhotobyRedBoxPictures

Fact: People do business with people they know and they trust. The best way for people to know and trust you as a business owner is to meet with them face to face.

There are so many industry networking events you can attend, and for the price of a beverage or a meal, you have the opportunity to zero in on the industry pros you want to have referring you and your business.

Use my simple tips to make each experience fun and rewarding.

  • Be able to state what you do in 7 words or less. Starting with a verb can make it easy. Keeping these short phrases in mind, like “baking desserts fit for a queen” or “designing personalized chocolates for sweet favors” will prevent you from stumbling over your words when meeting someone new. Be prepared!
  • Bring your smile and a great handshake. Always offer your hand, and never wimp out.
  • Dress according to the client you wish to book. If you want to be referred by the best wedding professionals in your area, dress the part.
  • LISTEN. When you are chatting with a new prospect, client or wedding professional, you need to listen to hear what they are looking for and think about how you can meet their need.
  • Thank them for their time after talking with them. If you think you could be a good fit for them, offer to exchange business cards. This is not about giving everyone in the room your card – it is about making a personal connection.
  • Follow up with a handwritten note. In the note you only need to convey two things: that you enjoyed your previous meeting with them, and that you would like to suggest a specific time to meet regarding how you might be able to assist their future clients.

Then, include your business card, address the envelope, and drop it in the mail. Everyone loves to get “snail” mail, and the response will be better than you might think. Meeting over coffee or lunch allows you truly gauge whether your business and theirs is compatible for referrals.

One of my weekly goals is to reach out to 4 business connections with a personal note. This ongoing networking keeps you top of mind. I would love to send you a note too!

Photo Credit: Red Box Pictures

about the author
Cherie Chérie Ronning is the founder and president of Wedding Network, a national organization of wedding professionals dedicated to education, networking and professional development.

See more posts by Cherie