01 Jun 6 Ways To Leverage Your Network
This week, I had the pleasure and honor of speaking in front of a group of women about networking for The Milspo Project’s “Milspo Project Live!” workshop. Such an amazing group of intelligent, beautiful women gathered in one space at first glance can seem overwhelming, but we all took comfort in knowing we were in a room where everyone shared two major connections: being a military spouse and being an existing or budding entrepreneur. Conversation came easy, end-of-workshop hugs were in abundance, and engagement was at an all-time high. But networking isn’t always that easy, right?
Below are six “never-fail” ways to leverage and grow your network. If you had to rate yourself between 1 to 5 on each of the bullets below (5 being proficient), how do you fare? I will give you a hint: if you rank yourself less than 24, a marketing coaching session on “leveraging your network” may be a good fit for you!
- Provide value. Offer your expertise in a non-salesy way to your networking group(s). For example, if you’re a real estate agent: try providing facts, helpful tips, market trends and reports – anything that helps others. If you’re in a business Facebook group, consistently contribute to people’s questions/calls to help, based on your experiences. Do this consistently and you’ll catch people’s attention.
- Help others. Help folks in your network when they need it and don’t expect it in return. If you see members of your group(s) coordinating an event, step in and offer help. If a group or business needs board members, volunteer your time. If the group is one that is important to you, which is should be – this should come easily. Give back as a business owner – hit two birds with one stone by doing this in a networking group your target customers or clients are in.
- Demonstrate expertise. Offer demonstrations of your products, be a vendor at the networking event, show people what you are all about. This can be done virtually or in-person. Ask to partner with folks on their social feeds for live videos – expanding the audience/reach for both parties.
- Be a thought leader and add insights and education in your group(s) based on your area of expertise. Being a thought leader means going a step beyond your industry. A great space for this is a Facebook or LinkedIn group that pulls together a diverse or similar group of participants, there for a purpose. Encourage conversation and community (example: Drop & Give Me 20 Facebook Group is a community group of military business owners – its main purpose is to act as a safe space to network, share ideas and discuss the behind-the-scenes aspects of military- or spouse-owned businesses.)
- Be realistic about your time at networking events. Come prepared! Look at the guest list or scan the room and try to meet your customers. DON’T JUST SIT NEXT TO YOUR FRIEND BECAUSE IT’S COMFORTABLE. Move around the room, shake hands, ask people how you can help them (people love this question because it turns the table and puts the limelight on them).
- Be intentional. Wouldn’t it be better to target five people of that group and hone and develop a relationship with them than try to work all 60 members. Who are the strategic contacts within the group that can introduce you to ideal relationships for your business?
Interested in learning more about how networking can grow your business? Reach out to Nikki at email@example.com or via Facebook at GACCoachZellner