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Why Business Networking It Really Works

By: Patricia Desiderio

Everyone loses customers: ownership changes, changing business plans, personnel changes and many more! In any given year if you are planning for growth you may grow, or have zero growth, or even shrink but one thing is certain - if you didn't go after new business you will be in a less advantageous position. New customers are your life blood and can be expensive to get. Cold Calling, Advertising Campaigns, and Mailings are expensive and require not only money but many sales hours and the return on investment is not usually very high. What can we do to find and get these new customers?

"What About Networking?" Networking is a cost effective way to obtain new clients and growing your business. The first thing you need to do is schedule at least two networking events a week. Next is getting out of your comfort zone. When attending a networking event, always sit with individuals you have never met before. It forces you to mingle, meet someone new and a possible potential new clients.

Here are some tips:

1. Bring plenty of business cards - keep them handy - wear a blazer or pants with pockets. Put your cards in your right pocket. When you obtain the other person's card put it in your left pocket. It is very distracting digging in your purse for your cards. You look "unorganized". Follow up about a week later with a postcard or an E Mail to keep your name in front of the new contact.

2. Eye contact is critical. You know how you feel when someone is talking to you and looking around. Don't look past the person. And don't forget the 3-minute rule (don't be too long winded). After that you lose the other person's attention!

3. Your name tag is your best friend; it introduces you to everyone. We usually shake with our right hand. Put your name tag on the left so it is visible.

4. Last but not least - and certainly very important - Dress for Success. Image is everything! You are on stage with networking. The first 30 seconds someone sees you are very important and you want to make a great impression.

Networking does work! You can meet 90% of your clients this way! Now, get out there and network!! It is essential to your business!! Your business success could depend on it!!

This article was written by Patricia Desiderio, founder and owner of Patty's Gifts and Baskets LLC, a corporate gift consulting firm. Patricia writes articles for various organizations on business topics for small businesses.

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