Networking is crucial for any company's success. If you want to find customers, you'll need more than just an ad in the phone book. You will need to go out and find customers.
It will also help to network with people who do you what you do. If you're in the home audio installation
business, and you have a friend who does work in a completely different area of home automation design
, then you may be able to direct clients their way and vice-versa.
If you feel a little shy, don't worry. Even introverts can be great at networking if they give it enough practice. Here are some tips:
Go to Places Where You Can Find Customers
The best way to find customers is to go where they can be found. Find events that are for people shopping for homes. If you find someone who wants to build a house, give them your card and tell them what you do. People may remember you and give you a call if you talk to them about your services and they're in the market for what you're offering. The trick is to find and connect yourself with those people.
If you have the space for it, host your own party. This will require a preexisting network of people to invite, but be sure to tell those people to invite friends. This can also be a great time to show off any new technology.
Go to Conferences
When you want to meet industry professionals, such as other people in the home technology business or home builders who want someone to talk to about electronics, it's time to find conferences you can attend. Look for conferences where you can find people with businesses that complement your own. It's worth establishing a travel budget for these events if you really want to cast a wide net.
Don't Be Shy
Everyone feels uncomfortable talking to strangers. But taking that first step and beginning a conversation will definitely help you if you want to succeed in a business. Practice your technique beforehand if you really feel uncomfortable. After talking to enough people and attending enough events, you will naturally grow used to discussing your business with strangers. The trick is to find your own way of doing it.
And remember to carry business cards wherever you go. If you're at a social event, don't be afraid to mention your line of work. You may be surprised by how many people you meet this way.
Attend CEDIA Events and Conferences
CEDIA conferences and events
such as CEDIA EXPO
can be a great place to start networking. Between meeting like-minded pros in training sessions, rubbing elbows with knowledgeable instructors, and getting facetime with manufacturers and reps, CEDIA EXPO is one of your best bets all year for targeted professional network-building.
The bottom line is that you can't run a business without a network. And you can't create a network without networking. Do what you feel comfortable doing at first, and you will gradually expand your rolodex of businesses to keep in touch with.
CEDIA EXPO 2014 registration is now open.
Register by July 18 to save 40%! Learn more and register now.