Anyone here like “Networking”?
You’ve probably heard people say these phrases before:
“People do business with people they know, like ‘n’ trust.”
“It’s not your net-WORTH that is important, but your NET-WORK”.
“It’s not WHO you know or WHAT you know… but who knows YOU!”
Are These Quotes True? I say yes!
I can’t tell you how much of my biz success has come from getting out and meeting people in person and growing relationships.
Believe it or not, I do tend to be somewhat shy, and often prefer to watch people interact rather than jump in and do the ‘interacting’.
About a cool incident that happened last evening!
A friend invited me to a networking event last night that was not only for wellness providers and therapists, but for anyone wanting to grow their business.
There were only about 25 people there so it was a small crowd, but I met one of the most influential people in my business life there!
(I can’t let you know who this person is, because we have now started working on a project together, and I want to be able to announce it to you when it’s ready. But, let me tell you – this man is someone who I’ve admired for the last few years for his business acumen. I’ve purchased his products and studied his programs, I’ve followed his examples and used what I’ve learned from him over the years, which has helped me to grow this online coaching business as well as my personal private practice business. )
Well, this ‘secret’ man was the featured speaker at this event, and I had never seen him ‘live’, so I went.
(Now, just a little background- this guy makes buku bucks. He is considered among the best internet marketers in the world, and is very sought after.)
I introduced myself to him before the event started and then after it ended we spoke briefly. From that simple conversation, he actually handed me his card, wrote his home number down on the back and invited me to set a time for me to come to his HOME to work on this idea I have brewing.
HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Yep, simple to say –
If you want to grow your business this year, and your biz needs more clients and patients, you need to set up structure that generates ‘leads’.
You want ‘leads’ , because, well… hopefully leads lead into becoming regular clients of yours.
There are lots of “Lead Generation Methods, like my famous, “WeGiveBack Free Massage Program” that I teach.
And networking (in person not social media) is a great way too.
It’s smart to get out an see and be seen!
It keeps you in touch with what’s going on ‘out there’ in your community. It also keeps your face and name in front of your ‘Sphere of Influence’.
A good goal is to attend at least ONE professional conference, convention or other in-person net-working opportunities a year.
Simply because of the relationships you can establish and nurture through meeting new contacts and seeing ‘old’ contacts.
You will not only have access to some of the best instructors, educators and thought-leaders in the country, from whom you can attain information, insight, and continuing education, but you will have the ability to network with a fabulous group of people who can and will help your practice grow while you are helping their business grow too!
So, please allow me to help you stop your procrastination, excuses or what-have-you for not going to these net working events….
They could change your life — like meeting this man in person may have done for me!
Yes, Networking Can be Scary:
Yeah, I hear you mumbling under your breath, “but I don’t like networking.” Or some of you might be asking, “How can other practice owners help me grow my own yoga, therapy, or massage practice?”
Trust me, you never know whom you might meet who might be of value to you in your practice somehow. You might meet a therapist who has a client moving to your town who can now refer you. Or at the trade show, you can meet distributors who can introduce you to a new product you can use in your practice. Or you can meet other people who you may be able to collaborate with on a marketing or service idea.
When you attend networking, clinical therapy or business events that are out of town, you will also have a ‘working vacation’ that is a tax write-off and have a great business opportunity where you can mingle one-on-one with other attendees, instructors and staff.
The Key To Networking Success:
When you meet new people, I suggest you ask them their name, what they do and who their best prospects are … This way you know if there is anyone in your ‘sphere of influence’ you can refer to them to help them grow their business. (Imagine how much they will love YOU if you help them!)
You, of course then can discuss what your clinical practice specialty is and tell them who YOUR ideal prospect is too. Be open to how the conversation flows, because you never know in advance if there will be any valuable connections that can be made, but as you know, it really is a small world!
I encourage you to think outside the box when you attend these events.
Most importantly, I want you to approach it from a place of giving, rather than taking. Focus on how you can help your new friend (not how they can help you).
Thinking about how you can provide some benefit to the other person is the opposite of what most people do, but it really is the key to success. When you approach your conversations from the perspective of how you can help the other person, you begin to think more creatively and you also show that you care about them and not just thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’
Once you know what they need or the support you can give them, you become a valuable resource to them. For example, you might be have a client who needs their specific technique or be able to send them an article on the latest research on their client’s dysfunction that you just read, or a link to that website that will help them find a new treatment table.
What I encourage you to do is first be of service to others and you will soon see how others are more willing to be of service to you!
Here are suggestions to make the best use of your networking time at these events.
• Choose the right event. Maybe you can’t make it to the event in Palm Springs, but a local wellness-provider group or other organizations also have meetings, Meet-ups, and social gatherings you can attend. Don’t waste your time at events that don’t meet your needs.
• Set your goals for the event or meeting. Look at the list of presenters and advertisers if there is a trade show, and make a note of who or what organization or business you want to meet. If you don’t have anyone specific you feel is important or interesting to you, be sure to mingle with a wide variety of people.
• Have current networking supplies: business cards, pen and paper. Keep them handy. Put your cards in one pocket and keep the new ones you gather in another. (Do not use tacky marketing material that have phone numbers crossed out or manually updated unless you absolutely have to!)
• Most important – Smile and say hello and extend a warm handshake. Establish rapport by saying hello and give the other person an opportunity to begin the conversation. If they don’t take the ball, ask open ended exciting questions, such as, “What is your biggest goal for this month?” Don’t ask them how their business is, because, unfortunately most therapists will respond in a negative way and then you’ll spend your valuable time complaining about the economy!
• Prepare a basic self-introduction or what I call a “Target-Market Commercial”.
Your ‘commercial’ is so you can respond to their inevitable question of what kind of practice you have. It lets them know who your ideal client is. Rather than saying what style of therapy you provide, (deep-tissue, MFR, AMT, etc) INSTEAD, discuss WHO it is best for.
So, for example, you can say something like, “I work with pregnant women who have pain to help them have an easier, more comfortable delivery.”
This way, if they meet, know or have any pregnant women friends in their life, they are more apt to refer them to you because they now know you as a therapist who specializes in that specific niche or population.
• Learn people’s names and repeat it back to them when you first hear it. You’ve heard the trick is to spell it to them to be sure it sticks and write it down or ask for a card so you can be sure to remember. Say your name slowly and clearly to help them remember you easier.
• At the event, be friendly. If you are feeling nervous or don’t know who to speak with, look for loners who look more scared than you, and approach them. Making the effort to take the first step will help both of you feel better. Get away from the walls and don’t sit down! Act as if you are the host of the event and greet people to make them feel welcome. They will love you for making the first step.
• If you exchange contact information, write some notes on their business card to help you remember them. Or, jot down something you want to find out for them so you can follow-up later.
• Don’t get “stuck” speaking with the same person for too long. Move on and connect with other people. A nice way to make a graceful exit is to introduce her/him to another person and then as they begin to engage in the conversation, you can excuse yourself. Don’t make silly excuses such as you need to go to the bathroom, just be sincere in your thanks for their time and your delight in meeting them.
• Follow-up with them within the next few days by email, mail or phone. You may have established a reason in your conversation to contact them, and if not, just a quick note to say ‘hi, it was nice meeting you’, will remind them of you. Relationships take time to build and again, I encourage you to think how you can help them with their business and offer your help rather than ask for them for something.
• When you get back to your office, be sure to add your new contacts to a tracking system, whether it be a software application or a simple excel spread sheet. Be sure to note what the nature of the relationship is, and the type of follow up you did. This way, you can continue to nurture the relationship over the years to come.
Be adventuresome and set out to have a good time. Open your mind to “tending your garden” of relationships so your private practice will flourish and you can have the success you want.
~ Irene Diamond
Please tell a friend about this blog, so they can also benefit!
Leave a comment below and tell us what event you just attended or the next one coming up will be for you. Also, share your thoughts on how ‘getting out in person’ is for you.
Business mentor, Educator and Inspirer to Clinic Owners & Solo Practitioners. Love to hear from you ~ Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
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