April 30, 2012

Professional Networking, Lee County Style

People are surrounded by an incomprehensible amount of information every day. With the increase in social media and online networking sites, people have a lot of verbal clutter to cut through.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when you're trying to network your business. So how do you make your product or service stand out? Why would people want to do business with you and not your competitor?


Step 1: Follow These Tried-And-True Tips

1. Don't be afraid to showcase yourself. People like to buy from people they like. You are not just selling your products or services, you are selling yourself. That means you must be comfortable telling people about your product and presenting yourself as the expert in your field. A little bit of confidence goes a long way.

2. Focus on relationships. Don't go in for the hard sale. Rather, use the networking opportunity to build a relationship. Share information about your product or service, but do it within the confines of a conversation. Many people can trace back a large portion of their business success to one important relationship they made.

3. Make a plan. You don't want to enter a networking session without a plan. Whether your goal is to talk to one new person or give out five business cards, you need to set your agenda before you enter the room.

4. Plant lots of seeds. Some people will become customers right away, but not everyone in the session will be in need of your product or services. That's okay -- by showcasing yourself, focusing on relationships, and sticking to your plan, you'll likely plant some seeds that take a little longer to grow. The more people you talk to and seeds you plant, the greater your likelihood of a successful harvest.

Step 2: Put Your Knowledge To Work

Now that you're ready to make yourself and your product stand out, take advantage of these local opportunities to network in our area:

Face-to-Face Networking Opportunities
  • Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce's AM Buzz
    When: Third Thursday of each month at 7:30am
    Where: Location varies
    What: Area professionals and business owners can network over coffee and breakfast. Everyone who attends gets to do a 10-second introduction to the group, but you can purchase more "air time" to promote your business. There's also a 50/50 raffle and door prizes. You do not need to be a Chamber member to participate.
    Contact: Kelly Klug (email)
  • Lee County Small Business Center Seminars
    The Lee County SBC offers seminars throughout the month. These highly attended seminars are a great way to meet like-minded professionals while learning from experts in various industries.
  • Civic Groups
    Civic involvement is a great way to get your name out there and meet other professionals. Find a group you are interested in and see what it has to offer. It’s a great way to find people with similar interests and a different sphere of influence.
Online Networking Opportunities
  • Women in Business Facebook Group
    Female professionals and business owners can discuss business/career-related topics and share upcoming events and networking opportunities. This is a great place to share valuable resources and learn from other women in business.
  • Inside919
    One of the fastest-growing online networking websites focused on small business in the 919 area code, this group is quickly becoming a powerful tool for connecting interactively with other businesses. Inside919 currently boasts nearly 2,000 businesses.
  • LinkedIn
    Share your professional experience and interact in industry groups. You can easily pick up business from around the country once you establish yourself as an expert.
Have we missed a networking opportunity? Send it in so that we can add it to the list.

5 comments:

  • Robertmorrisusa

    There is also the 705 Group that meets every Thursday at 7:05am at Mrs. Wengers.

  • MillerMix

    Can you supply more info? What does the group meet about? Is it a leads group or general networking? Do you have a website, online group, or email we can link to?

  • Robertmorrisusa

    Sure...here is the website: http://www.705businessgroup.com/members.htm It is a leads group headed up by Howard Logue and Skip Moltenbrey is the President. We meet, share leads, how business is going, etc. Nothing formal or fancy, but a great group of people. Feel free to stop by anytime.

  • Ashley Thompson

    I

  • Anmol Mehta

    hi thanks for sharing this news and information but i wanted to also know about Thin Clients if you got the information about it please tell thank you ..

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