One way to describe networking is the establishment of a strategic alliance. This is collaboration that combines the expertise and/or resources of individuals or organizations. There are several ways to collaborate that can bring added value and revenue to your business.
To network effectively, you must first put yourself in the right places. By getting involved with different organizations in your area, you will come in contact with many people. As you shake hands and talk with these folks, you will likely learn what they do for a living and where they work. While the person with whom you are speaking may not personally hire the entertainment for the company picnic, she/he is likely to know who does.
Aside from informal, social networking, there are various types of organizations where more formal networking can occur:
• Business associations
• Religious organizations or clubs
• Special Interest groups
• Fraternal societies
• Charitable fundraisers
• Employee events
• DJ Associations
Popular organizations include the Chamber Of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lion’s Club and Business Network International.
Many people join organizations for the sole purpose of seeking out referrals and sales opportunities. It’s quite obvious to the people you meet if this is your primary goal. There is a way to achieve prosperous results and help others achieve theirs as well. I call it “authentic personal marketing.” Another way to look at it is “relationship marketing,” which implies a long-term commitment rather than a quick “How do you do. Can you bring me business?”
Focus your networking efforts on meeting people with the purpose of learning about the quality products and services they or their companies provide. Why? So that you can recommend those products and services to your friends, family, acquaintances and business associates.
This philosophy of generosity will be appreciated by everyone with whom you come into contact. People may express their appreciation by providing you with referrals and hiring you for their events. Even if they do not refer you, they will put in a good word when others bring you up in conversation. This type of goodwill is priceless to your business. It is my firm belief that if you want something for yourself, you must give it to another. This includes always speaking well of those you meet through this type of networking, as well. If you give them a good reference or just a good word, the effort will come back to you multi-fold.
How and with whom do you like to network?