Networking

3 Proven Networking Tactics Home Based Business Owners Can Use to Save Face Time

image of people networkingLet’s face it, face-to-face networking takes a boat load of your time.

If you are doing it to try to build up your home based business because you have no real advertising funds, these 3 tactics are just what you need.

Wait, did I just call you out and say “you have no real advertising funds”?

Yup, I sure did.

Look, let’s be real here. The biggest reason we hit the streets, go to business mixers and meetups, or attend Chamber of Commerce table top events is because it is one of the cheapest forms of advertising for our small home based business.  A lot of us start our home based businesses because we have significant dreams and goals but not so significant bank rolls.  lol…

Note:  Face-to-face networking is only the cheapest until you start to put a higher value on your time but that topic is saved for another post. 🙂

The biggest most valuable things you have inside of your business right now are your expertise and your time.

Otherwise, you would be dumping tens of thousands of dollars into digital media buying or hiring my consulting arm for Done-For-You Local SEO and Online Marketing Campaigns.

Man….  Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to spend so much time and so much gas money on running around town to grow your business?

I mean count it up. How much time are you spending? How much money are you pumping into your gas tank every week?

Let me know. By the way, if you are “feeling” me so far, hit one of these social media buttons real quick. Share this post and show some love for me!

[socialring]

Alrighty, lets get to it.

3 Proven Networking Tactics to Save Face Time

By the way, not only will these save you time in the long run, but when done with authentic purpose, they can contribute to your bottom line.

1. Become the “Go To” Expert in Your Area.

Being an expert is all relative. Aside from establishing the symbols of expert status like writing a book, being an expert is mostly relative.

It’s relative to those around you.  Do you know more than the other person on a particular topic?

It’s relative to how much study time you put into your craft. The more you study and practice, the more expertise you develop.

It’s relative to how many people you know. The more people you get to know that can’t do what you do but you offer them the perfect solution, the more you become the “go to” expert in your area.

Tip:  Don’t over think it. Just do what you do.
Look forward to those that are better than you for guidance, mentoring, and training.
Look backwards for those that haven’t a clue and offer help.

Beware of Mental Traps!

It’s easy to get hung up on watching your competition and everyone that you think is better than you. I’ve fallen into this trap.

It can be intimidating. Intimidation can be stifling. You start to tell yourself, “who would care to listen to me”.  Or, “I’m not that good”.

Let me tell you something… you have a ton of value to provide others.  But, in order to develop that “go to” expert status, you must go find the ones that were once where you were and help them out.

Find the people experiencing the exact problems you solve, and help them move forward.

Find them, help them, and you become their “go to” expert. After you help them out, get a recommendation on Linkedin or a testimonial for your website.

Here’s an example, I became the “go to” expert for SEO in my business community. I am by far not the best in this state. I know of a guy that is really underground and is absolutely crushing it with SEO. There are so many really, really, really smart people that really know their shit when it comes to SEO.

I may not the best, but in much of the business network in my town, I am THE “go to” expert for SEO.

seoexperttestimonial

[schema type=”review” rev_name=”The Go To SEO Expert in Delaware” rev_body=”Chris Darling has deservedly earned the reputation as *the* SEO expert within our large business network. The depth and breadth of her knowledge is outstanding, and she regularly stays up-to-date with the latest technical trends in her industry. In addition, her work ethic is unsurpassed. I’ve happily recommended Chris in the past and have gotten excellent feedback from those I’ve referred. In addition to her professionalism, she is a lot of fun to work with. If you’re looking to heighten your business’ presence on the Internet, do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Pick up the phone and call Chris.” author=”Brooke Grubb” pubdate=”2013-08-09″ user_review=”5″ min_review=”1″ max_review=”5″ ]

The more you become the “Go To” expert, the more people come to you and the less time you have to spend seeking them out.

2. Follow up with a Personal Email & Create Referral Sources

So, you met a bunch of people at the last event you went to huh?

As a good Networking Ninja, you deflected or collected a dozen or so business cards most likely.

What do you usually do with them? Throw them away? Add them to your email list? Shove them in a box somewhere?

Here is what I do and it usually gives me good results and kicks a new contact relationship off on the right foot.

I send them a personal email. Don’t dump them into your auto-responder. That’s kind of rude. It’s also against the CAN-SPAM regulations too.

Don’t just toss them aside either. That’s just lazy.

Go through each one and decide what to say in a personal email to them. Don’t pitch them on your business or services either. People see right through that crap. They will avoid you like the plague after that.

Say it was great to meet you. Reference something from your conversation with them. What was your connecting point?  What did they talk about?

Offer to meet 1:1 for coffee or tea so that you can learn more about what they do.

Even if this new connection is not a potential prospect, if you develop a trusted relationship with them, they could become a big referral source.

The more referral sources you have, the less time you have to spend doing face to face networking.

3. Listen More to Be a Problem Solver

Listen to what your new contact is saying or not saying. Ask them questions about their business. Find out where they are struggling.

Grab onto that whether it is something you can solve or not. If you know someone in your circle of influence that can help them out, this is golden.  Help them make a new connection.

Beware of the Talking Time Sucker:
If you have encountered a real talker that is sucking the life out of you, find a way to introduce them to someone else in the crowd.  For example:
“Hey Bob, there is someone here I would like you to meet. This is Suzy and she was just telling me about what she does. Suzy, Bob does, blah, blah, blah”. This is the point where you see something shiny and politely excuse yourself to use the restroom.

The simple fact is, the more people you help out with solving their problems, the bigger your network will grow.

They will remember you. The person you referred will remember you. It will come back to you in the form of warm referrals for what you do best and love the most.

The problem solvers get more respect than the opportunity pushers.

The more referrals you get from being a problem solver, the less time you have to spend doing face to face networking to push yourself onto prospects.

Bonus Tactic: Ask for Referrals

Through time, your network will grow. As it grows, manufacture reasons to reach out to your new contacts.

Nurture the relationships with free and informative case studies, reports, or breaking news.

Simply ask your new contacts to connect you with the people they know that would like help with X.