Expand your business network to grow and succeed
Even self-employed professionals need a network to succeed and grow their business. Today, cold calling, sending unsolicited emails or even lifting the phone and contacting a prospective customer will not help you acquire new business. Some of the ways to expand your business network are as follows:
Always get referrals
Your existing customers are your best source of getting new business. They will know other businesses and professionals in their industry who will need your product or service. If your customer is satisfied with you, don’t hesitate to ask them for a referral. You also can use the customer’s name for an introduction, as long as you have their permission. Knowing your services were used by a known colleague makes you more reliable and dependable in the eyes of a prospect.
Local chamber of commerce
Join the local chamber of commerce to grow your network and meet prospective customers. Even other professionals you meet and befriend at the chamber of commerce will know someone who may require your services or goods. Once these professionals get to know you, they will automatically recommend you to others.
Participate in industry meetings
Participating in trade shows, conferences and industry meetings is a wonderful way to meet new people and grow your network. When you visit such event regularly, you will be able to nurture relationships and also acquire new customers.
Join business networking groups
There are several business networking groups, such as BNI, that allow interested professionals to attend a few meeting free of charge. Use these meetings to meet other professionals and exchange visiting cards and contact information. You never know when this exchange will bring the results you want.
Build an online presence
If you have the time and inclination, establish an online presence and showcase your expertise through blogging. A personal or company blog can help you market your company, services and/or products in a subtle manner. Blogging allows you to interact with interested visitors and demonstrate your expertise. This, in turn, helps establish new relationships to grow your business network. You also can use business networking sites, like LinkedIn to expand your network. However, LinkedIn takes time and you should be ready to invest it.
You will need a multi-pronged approach to grow your business network. The time and effort you invest today will reap results tomorrow.