Solopreneurs Guide to Networking and Conversion – in 6 easy steps

Networking. It’s one of the most important marketing tools in a solopreneurs marketing portfolio according to Jay Samit, Author of Disrupt Yourself, “the more time you can find to get out of your office and build true friendships, the farther your startup will go.” But a lot of us struggle with networking. Not necessarily because we don’t know how to connect with others, but we often don’t know what to do after the fact.

Here are six simple steps to help you convert a networking contact into a client or partner:

Step 1 – Prepare for the occasion.

Before you just show up at an event, look at who is going and find the common link. These events are designed to encourage connection, but if you’re a graphic designer and it’s a business finance event you’re going to struggle.

Step 2 – Approach others as you would like to be approached.

No one likes a hard sell. You’re there to engage and get to know people – individuals like yourself with services you could potentially tap into or offer. Remember, each interaction is an opportunity to not only represent your brand of business but also get a feel for who they are as individuals as well as businesses.

Step 3–Connect on social(post event).

Don’t just hit add and send an auto response. Personalize your message by saying it was great to meet them. Connecting on social will also give you a head start on talking points for an informal chat as well as provide more insight into their business and content interests.

Step 4 – Follow up with an invite for casual chat.

You want to hit them up while they still remember you, so don’t wait too long to do this (a week max). A casual sit down is an opportunity to dive deeper into what they do and what they might need. It’ll also helps clarify whether your service might be a good fit for them. Just remember, you’re not there to plug a sale, you’re there to listen, learn and share.

Step 5 – Advertise on platforms you know your audience will see.

You’ve already planted the idea of your business in their mind, now you just need to water that seed. Posting targeted advertising and content on social media platforms will help keep your business at the forefront of their mind. This should be ongoing. You don’t have to spend a fortune on this. Linked In articles, Facebook advertising; these simple, cost effective mediums can work magic when done right.

Step 6 – Refer business to them when possible.

If someone in your network is looking for a service you know they provide, connect them. Networking is all about giving and sharing which in turn results in receiving.
Above all, remember, that building authentic relationships is what matters. Some of the most effective results from networking come from referrals, so regardless of whether your new found friend requires your services, it’s likely they know someone that does.