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
- Women’s Power Networking Coffee and Contacts-Sanford
When: Every Wednesday at 11am
Where: Steele Street Cafe, 120 S. Steele Street, Sanford NC
What: Meetings last one hour and are a great way to build friendships, expand your sphere of influence, develop your networking skills, and build referrals. There are also small workshops on networking, business building, and personal growth at the meetings. As a part of a local chapter you can also attend area Women’s Power Networking events.
Contact: Ashley Thompson (608-509-8112)
- 705 Business Group
When: Every Thursday at 7:05pm
Where: Mrs. Wengers, 105 Charlotte Avenue, Sanford NC
What: A group that meets to share leads and get referrals. Only one person from each profession is allowed to participate. Non-members can visit up to two times. After that, they must submit an application for membership.
Contact: Howard Logue (email)
- 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)
- Sanford Business & Professional Women’s Organization (BPW)
When: First Thursday of each month at 5:30pm
Where: Capital Bank building, Sanford NC
What: Meet and network with other professional women at monthly meetings, signature events, conferences, and programs across the state sponsored by BPW/USA.
Contact: Judy Jenkins (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.
- Practical Knowledge Seminar Series
The Practical Knowledge Seminar Series offers low-cost, small-group guided work sessions on a range of business topics. Attendees will leave each session with a finished product.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.