One of the great ways to find new clients and in turn grow your business is with Networking. Below are some examples of different ways to network.
Face to face networking meetings are a fantastic way to quickly make new contacts and build new relationships. There are many networking events you can attend – breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, evening drinks receptions, local meetings in pubs, child friendly networking, women only networking etc.
Some of the most common national ones that I hear of are BNI (Business Networking International), 4N and WIBN (Women in Business Networking). Some of these can be quite expensive and you have to sign up for a yearly membership and then pay for your individual meetings – lunch/breakfast costs. Most of these type of meetings have a one trade rule – so one accountant, one solicitor, one VA, one mortgage broker etc. so you are paying for that exclusivity which can be worth the expense. I know with BNI you get points for referrals and for bringing new members into groups as it’s a group very much focussed on referring each other as much as possible so again it can be worthwhile. I have also attended some small local networking events where meetings have been held in pubs or cafes, these tend to be cheap and a turn up when you like set up so perhaps you will pay £10 to attend and then pay for a coffee, however, generally these type of groups do not have exclusivity and you could end up with 4 accountants at one group.
Online networking via Facebook groups, Linkedin, twitter and Instagram. This can be very beneficial for time poor people who cannot get out and about to physical networking meetings, but it obviously can take longer to build relationships with people.
I am a member of a mothers networking group on Facebook, there are over 500 people in this group and we all recommend each other to people and build relationships with each other. We do have a face to face networking morning coming up in July so that some of us can put names to faces and make those business relationships even stronger.
Building a good following and updating your social media profiles regularly is another positive step in finding clients and widening your network. If you are continuously present on your social media platforms your connections will start to feel like they know you, they will learn more about your personality and therefore you as a person and if your service is something they are considering they are more than likely to approach you. You can obviously network on all social media platforms, however, it is a good idea to work out what platform those people you want to work with are and stick to investing your time and efforts into those specific platforms.
Another great way to build your network and find more clients is by recommending others. Do you know someone who is a mortgage advisor, an accountant, a local hairdresser, a great cake maker, a plumber? Then recommend them to your friends, family and connections when they ask. If these people are getting recommendations from you, they are likely to then recommend your services onto others. If you are a small business it can be tough to compete with the larger businesses, so get your name out there amongst your peers and get noticed.
I hope this has given you some food for thought in gaining more clients!