Networking has always been a large part of what we do here at J2 Marketing. It has not only grown our personal lives but has been a huge asset to our professional experience as well. Unfortunately, networking is something that a lot of people seem to shy away from. Many consider it too much work or simply an unknown pool of murky water.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. One thing to keep in mind is that, though networking doesn’t have to take up the majority of your day-to-day time, it can take patience to get to the end result. Networking doesn’t happen overnight. It can span months or even years until it produces a new client.
We always recommend to make it a point to invest interest when networking. Remember people’s names and what they do. Be able to answer questions about what products and services their business provides. After all, isn’t that what you are expecting of them? The Golden Rule definitely applies here. You get what you give, so give what you’re expecting to get. If you expect a person in your professional network to remember your name and what your business does, then remember the same things about them.
Also, keep in mind that networking involves referrals, and referrals involve time and effort. Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, a professional business networking organization, calls this “social capital.” If you don’t know what a person’s business does, you can’t know how it will help your clients, or even your own personal needs one day. Check out this article from entrepreneur.com to learn more about social capital and how to gauge your investment.
One specific way we love to network and gain referrals at J2 is investing our time and energy to groups and meetings specifically designed around networking. One we love and attend almost every week in Elkhart County is called Horsefeathers. They meet Fridays at noon at Sports Time off of County Road 17 in Elkhart.
What are your favorite ways to network? Leaves us a comment and let us know!
By: Hannah Birong, Communications Director at J2 Marketing