When understanding marketing for your business it’s important to see that there are MANY ways to do so. (I am famous for saying: social media isn’t marketing…it’s a place where you can employ marketing strategies.) Marketing agencies spend considerable time and money researching which marketing strategies are best for ROI (return on investment). For many of us, a small business owner, our marketing dollars must be well spent! As an Italian I relate it to spaghetti: I need it to stick!
Based on ROI, one of the top three marketing strategies is networking. These days networking is powerful because you can do it in person AND online.
When understanding marketing, smart business leaders network. Smart entrepreneurs network. Influential people, no matter what their goals are network. They understand that networking is a key strategy to success. Do you know what they do to be successful? Probably. This article will give you insights to net-begging…what you DON’T want to be!
When you are a successful net-worker you are attracting more business opportunity. You practice the law of reciprocity. You get that givers gain.
I find there are predominantly two types of people “networking”. And I see a distinct difference in the progress in their success because of these two approaches. I have named them:
Whether meeting with someone one on one over coffee, or participating online, or even with an association or group, there are key characteristics that clearly differentiate net-workers from net-beggars.
Characteristics of Net-Beggers
Let me share characteristics of net-beggers with you now:
- You show up only when you need something.
- You practice thinking: “how can you help me?”
- You forget who you’ve met and neglect to follow up.
- You wait until you’ve lost your job, your business is rocky, your clients are scarce, or your health is uncertain to pursue the relationships you need.
- You force your agenda on everyone – whether in discussions, emails, one on ones, or at networking events.
- You push your own business and needs so much that people don’t trust you to listen to their needs.
- You forget to practice basic social graces and conversations.
- You don’t DO business with others- you just WANT business from others.
- You come from a place of desperation. People can feel that energy.
- You forget to follow the culture and values of the organization or group you are net working in…in person, AND online.
For years I have coached clients and have said: “you don’t know you need a network until you need it, and then it’s way too late.”
That is the primary cause of net-begging: waiting until you need something to show up! So if you are trying to expand your business, start networking when you really do not need to! And guess what? That means start now!
Networkers are actively involved and at least one (if not three) organizations in order to connect and build relationships, in person or online. There is a strong social component of networking that creates success. This is the first and most important step to becoming a great net-worker, not a net-beggar.
So let me share with you how to pick WHERE to show up. It’s as simple as answering some questions!
When deciding which group is right for you, whether in person or online, ask yourself:
- Can I learn and grow?
- Do the groups values aligned with mine?
- Can I contribute my knowledge and skills?
- Can I volunteer, or actively engage so it’s easier to show up?
- Do we have common interests?
- Am I willing to be consistent and participate with this group?
- Can I see myself being of service and helping others involved in this group?
- Will I commit to showing up regularly for at least a year?
- Will I do business with people in this group (buy their product or service?)
There are many types of groups to join: from professional groups, to business lead groups, and even hobby groups. All three are great to join for business growth because what matters most is that you found the right group based on the questions above. The goal is simple. Show up, give first, and act in the spirit of relaxation and openness.
Are you understanding marketing strategy that can accelerate networking success in person, online and from of a group?
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