As a business owner, you know that you need to network. You know networking will help you get to know people, build relationships, and even build your reputation as an expert if you know what you are doing. To be successful with networking, avoid these common mistakes.
Not Having a Goal – You should create a goal for general networking but also for each networking channel, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. For example, you want to connect with at least three new people, so that you know when you leave if you have been successful or not.
Not Being You – Many people think that because they have a business, they need to exaggerate and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be yourself because it is you that makes your business and offerings special. Be Self-Expressed.
Not Listening More Than You Talk – You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, therefore practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you heard, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They will actually remember you more this way.
Hanging Out with Competitors – While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you have. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it w increase your sales.
Not Pushing Your Boundaries – Going to events can be scary, but it is important to push your boundaries if you want to grow your business. You can start slow with online events, and then move slowly into offline events.
Acting like a Wallflower – Do not go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle and get to know people. A good trick to help you accomplish this without getting sick is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event, handing out name tags, or something else that requires you to speak to people.
Being the Last One Standing – At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
Having No Energy – When you speak to people, project your voice but do not yell, and show some likeable energy about you. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a business owner. Today, most people do not have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.
Nothing is more important than ensuring that the communication you have with your clients is productive. There are many ways to communicate with a client. They encompass words and actions. Sometimes the words are spoken and sometimes they are written. But for all communication, your actions speak volumes above the words that you use. Ensure that your actions back up your words for the most effective form of communication.
Here are ten tips that you should know:
There are numerous ways you can engage with your clients, from a private Facebook group, to open office hours, to weekly Skype calls, to answering emails quickly. The more you can engage with your clients and the more they feel that you are open to communication, the better.
Sometimes, especially when a client is complaining about something, it can be hard to be empathetic. But, you must always put yourself in your client’s shoes and look at things from their perspective in every interaction. When a client reacts badly to something, do not respond to their poor behavior; respond to the actual problem. They will feel heard and it will help.
A great way to open up communication with your clients is to show them some of your half-finished work and ask their opinion on it. That might be scary because they might respond going in a new direction than you thought, but it can help make them more satisfied with your work.
Do not be afraid to ask your clients direct questions about anything you are working on with them. Ask them if they liked your work, how they would improve it, and what suggestions they have for future work together.
Be proactive with your clients and when you see a problem that they have that you can solve, or you know who can solve it, share that with them. Clients want their problems solved and even if they do not take your advice, they will appreciate your knowledge and expertise.
You are an expert in your niche and your clients should view you that way in order to have a good relationship. Feel free to educate them on the area you have your expertise in. They will appreciate your voice as an expert.
If you do have contracts with your clients, then the best way to make your communication work is to work on perfecting your contracts. When an issue comes up with one client, be sure to take that as education on how to make the contract with the next client even better.
The worst thing you can do is not give your client your opinion. You want to work with people who value your opinion, so be sure to give it. Always state that it is your opinion with some facts to back it up. Make it clear that they can go in whatever direction they want, but this is your expert opinion.
Do not try to put on someone else’s personality. Only you can be you, and that is who your clients hired. Keep being yourself always. Even if it is scary sometimes, and even if a client might let you go due to who you are, those who stick with you will be a joy.
Follow up with your clients at least yearly with a survey asking them about your work, products, and services. Having this yearly feedback will help you do better in the future with them and other clients.
Taking some time each year to review past communications with clients, analyze how you could do better, and working on improving will go far in helping you become an even bigger success.