Networking is an important aspect of building your life coaching business. Why? Think about it. Which do you believe more when you’re looking for a service or product: the ads you see in the media, or a personal recommendation? Consider how often you recommend a store, a movie, or a book to a friend. How many times have you gone to a restaurant because someone you know had a fabulous meal there? We all do it, every day.
Professional networking operates the same way, by word of mouth. You provide leads and referrals to other businesses, and they do the same for you. Everyone wins.
So how do you become a successful networker? Here are some basic networking tips to help you build your practice once you become a life coach:
1. Join the local Chamber of Commerce, a networking group, or a civic association.
After a few meetings, yours will be a familiar face and more and more people will begin to know you and your business. Volunteer to be a greeter at a group function. You’ll get to meet everyone, and you’ll begin to feel more at ease with the group.
2. Invest some time in developing eye-catching business cards and hand-outs.
Remember, these will be lost in a pile of waste paper unless they are out of the ordinary. When you exchange business cards with another networker, ask them for two of theirs, so you will have an extra to pass on. And be sure to give them two of yours!
3. Make notes on the back of the business cards you receive.
You’ll be much more likely to remember the person and what you talked about.
4. Wear a name badge.
People will remember your name more easily if they can see it.
5. Most networking events give each person 30-60 seconds to tell about their business.
Think of a memorable way to describe yours. Be creative, and you won’t be forgotten. Be sure to mention the type of referral you’re seeking. And for goodness sake, don’t remain sitting when you talk. Stand up, speak up, and be noticed!
6. Follow up promptly on leads and referrals, and be sure to send a note of thanks to the person who gave them to you.
7. Arrive early and stay late.
This gives you the maximum opportunity to meet others. If you arrive after the meeting has started, or leave before it’s over, you have missed valuable networking time.
8. The most effective networking is built upon relationships.
Don’t jump right in and immediately pitch your business to another networker. Get to know the other person, and discover the common ground that you share. You are both there for the same reason, so spend a little time getting to know about them and about their business.
9. Whenever possible, patronize the businesses of your fellow networkers.
It’s good for your business, and you’ll probably get the very best service because they know you.
10. Smile, smile, smile.
Be pleasant, and don’t complain. Nobody likes negativity!
Remember, people basically want to help other people. There are lots of folks out there who would like nothing better than for you to succeed. All they need to know is who you are and what kind of referrals you are looking for. Build a strong business network, and help others as they help you.