Everyone discusses the importance of networking and building their relationships in order gain more referrals. However, most people are not consistent, nor do they follow-up beyond the traditional “Pleasure to meet you” email or the ever-endangered thank you card.
The key to keep in mind is that in addition to attending networking events and charities, finding new ways to establish a presence in a community should always be the goal — as long as you are consistent and continue to nurture your contacts. A good analogy is that of the “farm,” which is your sphere of influence or contact base. You establish your presence, plant the seed, water regularly and watch it grow. It’s important to mind your garden or you will end up with a dead plot that won’t do you or anyone else any good.
The time to farm on Internet is now. There is a growing number of sites dedicated to networking between many affiliated industries, as well as forums designed specifically for the ever diligent consumer who increasingly turns to the Internet to conduct research and gain contact details of professionals that can meet his or her needs.
The potential is there, however, most people do not nurture those contacts as they do off-line. Treat your involvement with Internet groups the same as the regular networking events you go to — attend and contribute regularly!
One site that has significantly increased my business is FastPitch Networking.
My phone started ringing the same day I posted my profile, and the people calling haven’t been the serial tire kickers or “business card collectors” that often drag on a professional’s productivity. Those enquiries came from interested individuals who had viewed my information, knew about my services and already had a need for them. The point? Do your due diligence and find sites that work for you and your own unique business’s needs.
Plant the seed. Give it your love and attention. Then make your garden a grove!