Hillary Clinton once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But I believe it also takes a village to grow a business—after all, your business is your baby, right? Many of us are tempted to think, when first starting out, that we can go it alone. Maybe you don’t like asking others for help. The thing is, though, most people love being asked to support other people’s businesses, and it can make a world of difference to your bottom line. So, don’t be shy—it’s time to call in those favors! Start networking with a few simple tips below:
Types of Networking
Of course, this isn’t safe to do during COVID, but as things slowly return to normal, we can begin resuming in-person networking activities. These include happy hours, lunch and learns, business breakfasts, and more—gatherings where you can showcase your products and services all for the price of buying food and drinks for your attendees. While industry-specific groups (think nail techs, hair stylists, personal trainers, etc.) make perfect sense for cross-referrals, consider, too, groups that have nothing to do with skin care: PTA meetings, hiking clubs, book clubs, church groups, mom’s groups, cooking clubs, etc. The concept of “tell a friend about something you can offer them, and they’ll tell 10 more people” works like a charm when it comes to marketing yourself.
Boy, have we become familiar with this type of networking over the past year. But the fact is, virtual networking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of getting the word out about your products and services; the key is to ask everyone you know with whom they hang out and then ask if you can set up a virtual networking event with their groups. Entice people to sign up by offering prizes for attendance and make it a fun time for everyone with a few icebreaker games and plenty of product/treatment demonstrations.
So, you had the happy hour, or the Zoom party—now what? Wait for attendees to flood you with phone calls? (Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?) Be sure to reach out to every attendee within two to three days after your event. A phone call is ideal, but since many people rarely answer their phones these days (especially if it’s an unknown number), a text or email will suffice. Have an offer they can’t refuse ready for them and let them know they can contact you with any questions.
Some people have a knack and a passion for networking, and that’s terrific. But even if you don’t, you can easily improve your networking skills by being a good listener and consistently asking others for help and offering your help to them, too. Networking is not only about increasing sales; it’s about enriching your experience in your professional community. With practice and a commitment to networking, your “village” will be full in no time.
Louis “The Laser Guy’s” Three Tips for Ultimate Networking Success:
- Email virtual attendees with a small token of your appreciation the day after your event (for example, a free head and neck massage when they book a facial). Strike while the iron is hot.
- Have a plan – schedule your events regularly (minimally, once a month) so that you’ll become known as “the facialist who throws those wild Zoom parties and gives away awesome prizes!”
- If the idea of standing in front of others with a “pitch” sounds terrifying, rehearse what you want to say first with friends and family. Rehearse it so many times that it comes naturally to you, and have fun with it!