How I enhance Networking Group Meetings with LinkedIn- My Talk on 28Dec2010 at Georgetown Networking.
By Shane Grantham
I officially started my Computer business in 2003. My marketing effort was dismal. I had some clients from former co-workers and friends and family but I needed more. I went door to door at businesses and passed out my business card. I got TWO clients out of that. I next did a direct mailing of 2000 postcards and got TWO clients out of this. One I still have. In August 2005, a local bank manager introduced me to my first group, the New Haven Chamber of Commerce Networking Group. This changed my life forever! the results have been remarkable. 60-70% of my business, year after year, comes from open network groups.. Out of this group came my best computer client, business advisers, and many friends. I don’t do any other forms of formal marketing or advertising.
How do I network in open groups?
1 I attend at least one group meeting a week. Whether I’m busy or slow!. There are so many groups that this shouldn’t be hard.. I’ve been doing this 5 years. SCHEDULE IT if you have to If you follow just one rule make it this one!
2 I share helpful computer tips during my talk. Free software, Security alert, Link to great web site.
3 When I see competition I don’t attack or retreat. I try to introduce myself and get to know them. At the Aboite Group about four years ago there were four computer people at one meeting The next week and every week after it was just me. I talked to one of them and encouraged him to return and he said there were too many computer people and he wouldn’t come back. His loss. We had two Printer reps show up about the same time at Norris Networking back in 2007. They stopped attending about the same time. Don’t let competition influence your attendance.
4 When I see a new person or one I lost touch with, I introduce myself and speak to them. Encourage them to come back.
5 Repeat my services often. The audience needs to here your services or products every week. They may be asleep, not listening, thinking about what they are going to say during your talk. It may be the 7th time that they finally understand what you do. I cringe when I hear someone say” You already know what I do” during their talk.
6 I’m not afraid of seeing the same people over and over because they will be more inclined to market you if they are comfortable with you and know you. Half of the 60-70% networking business is Network referrals.
7. I’m not afraid of smaller groups. This allows you to get to know people better than in larger groups.
8 I hang around after the formal meeting is over and answer computer or networking questions. Or get there early and talk to others before the meeting.
9.Don’t bring up your business – Talk about something else like family , school what the other person does or networking. If they ask about your business then go ahead, but don’t force it on them.
10 Sit by people you don’t know. I picked up a client by sitting by a new person to the NH Chamber meeting and simply talking to them. It took just one meeting to connect with them.
11 Attend after-hours events. Chamber events, etc. I reconnected to a former networker from the NH Chamber of Commerce Group at a Fort Wayne Chamber Meet Me@5 who referred me to one client who has referred me to four more.
I was concerned when someone would stop attending a network group so I started emailing former networkers to encourage them to come back. Then I joined LinkedIn!
LinkedIn.com Best Practices. Dec 27, 2010 these are my opinions.
I was invited to join LI in Feb 2007. I didn’t see any value in it and my account was dormant for a year. I got excited about finding former co-workers, bosses, clients and former networkers on LI! I found a former DMA boss in Phoenix, and former co-worker in Boston, Classmates in Atlanta and LA. Plus people in FW.
-Use LI to assist your personal networking by staying in contact with people you have met at a meeting. As soon as I meet someone new I ask if they are on LI. Some people don’t return to netowrking groups and this is sad. If I can help them stay in the “networking loop” with LI, I will. I don’t expect it to do all my networking for me or get all my business. It enhances my visibility.
– Keep personal and sensitive things off of LinkedIn. Do that on FaceBook(Well- maybe not). Assume everyone in the world will know everything you post.
-Post once a day with a helpful advice, a link to an article, promote yourself or promote a client, networker.. Promote I do this to help others get to know me and my expertise.
– Join groups which will help you professionally. I am part of IT groups and Staffmark Alumni, DMA Alumni and I created a Needham’s Business Machines Alumni
-Give people sincere recommendations.
Keep your profile current. Include education, experience,
If you need help joining LI, I will assist you.