If you're not finding the talent you need, maybe it's time to look at networking differently.
You've worked hard to build a network; you have a stack of business cards and a robust LinkedIn profile. So why aren't the leads rolling in? It's because if you don't work your network, your network won't work for you. Here are some easy tips to help keep your network thriving, thus keeping your name top-of-mind for business opportunities.Grab a cup of coffee.
People tend to be more relaxed over a cup of coffee. Make it your goal each week to take at least one person out for coffee whom you've never met before. Share insights, business best practices and challenges. Even if there is no immediate business, any connection to a company is a foot in the door.Be a Social Media Butterfly.
Follow your clients, prospects and vendors on social networks; LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to start. This way, you will hear updates directly from them that can give you the opportunity to engage with them throughout the year. And set up Google alerts. This feature delivers news articles directly to your inbox so you can drop contacts a quick note or share the content.Work the Network.
Attend networking events, but just make sure you choose wisely. The great thing about Columbus is that there are networking events almost every single day. However you don't need to attend them all. Try to attend two-to-four a month. When deciding on an event, ask yourself two questions:Is the content something that pertains to my business, my profession or my industry? Who is the audience; are they current clients or potential prospects?
If you answer "no" to both, look for a different event.
Remember that networks require effort and work, but the payoff is invaluable. Try to connect with each member of your network at least once a year; set aside time each week to send a quick email, leave a brief message, or send a note to members of your network. Maintain ongoing conversations with your vendors, partners, colleagues, and the Columbus Chamber to discover opportunities for your business. Building strong strategic partners and trusted referrals will be a key contributor to having a successful network, and before you know it, the leads will start rolling in.
Christy Bertolo is the member resource specialist at Columbus Chamber of Commerce.