Its amazing how quickly we forget the old tried and tested methods when new things come along. The result of this is that we never actually stay with an approach long enough to get any serious results from it. This is called the “bright shiny object” syndrome -chasing the latest fad.
One of the tried and tested ways of growing your network and getting to know more people in the business community is engaging in oral/spoken conversation with them. I say spoken because you can still engage with people these days without actually speaking to them. Unfortunately the glamour and lure of social media and all its forums, tweets,likes and follows mean that some of us have forgotten and under-estimated the power of spoken communication.
Social media is effective in promoting your business and should be a key part of any business’ marketing activities, however more is needed if you want to establish long term relationships with the people you are engaging with online. It takes more than tweets, comments and likes to build trust and rapport. Particularly if you are looking to build a solid and trusted network of serious business owners that you can collaborate with.
If you are new to this blog, I currently live in the North of England having moved from London so it is very important that I establish a local network as quickly as possible to increase my business’ visibility.
I’ve tried networking which is great but time consuming so I’ve been trying new ways of building relationships without being on the road all the time. So far my most effective strategy for getting to know people quickly has been a mix of social media and the good old follow up telephone call.
It is very easy to hide behind emails and other online platforms waiting for your phone to ring. What I find amusing is that some business owners are relunctant to call people, however, they are always waiting for their phones to start ringing, bringing them business. Hopefully, if you’ve been doing that in the past, you’d have figured out by now that, that doesn’t happen.
Your business will prosper based on the relationships you build along the way. True, it is easier to connect with people online but then moving the conversation off-line as quickly as possible is needed to build trust. This approach eliminates the discomfort associated with calling people cold.
Each time I’ve done this, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how lovely, open and engaging people can be over the phone, particularly after getting acquainted online. You both would have developed adequate knowledge and curiosity about each others businesses to have a useful conversation. You will also be surprised the information you can access simply by asking. Picking up the phone and calling people will compliment your other networking efforts immensely, creating relationships where none would have existed. It is cheap and very effective. It is an easy and painfree way of building trust and rapport. Remember, the quicker you build rapport, the quicker you’ll achieve your goals (whether it is increased sales, introductions etc.)
So go call or skype some people you’ve been engaging with online. Take the relationship to the next level. This strategy has really worked for me, I have made some great connections this week alone because I decided to be proactive and just call up people I’d been following online. Let me know how you get on.
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