People want to work with those they know. That’s why it can be so hard starting out with something new. We have this awesome client whose been growing their new business by leaps and bounds in their first year.
They still have nerves, that’s just part of the deal, but they’re doing so great because they get out there!
Small-town social media success stories
Indian Falls Chalets, our amazing client, is one of those small-town social media success stories for a few reasons, the biggest one of which, is they’re not afraid to make lasting relationships IRL (in real life, for those of you who aren’t up on what the kids are saying). Their success comes from real connections and experiences, not just digital ones.
But how did they do it? How can you get known? How can you make your business the one on everyone’s lips?
Well, for Indian Falls Chalets regular social media ad campaigns go a long way in looking for leads locally or nationally. You can advertise traditionally to reach more people close by, if that’s where you’re focusing your efforts. You can write articles for industry publications and share parts of your story to get better known in your industry. Or, you can network.
Gulp … Networking
That last one is pretty scary, though. Walking alone into a room full of strangers, slapping on a name tag, and sticking out your hand to be shaken.
Yeah, that’s pretty terrifying unless you’re a total extrovert who has complete confidence in your skills … which is, well, none of us.
Get over the fear of networking
Alisha worked for the St. John’s Board of Trade, one of the biggest networking organizations in our province for four years and has a list of tips for how to make real connections with real people in real time.
Before the event
Get out of those sweats and put on something you would have worn to the office! It feels like a pain, and even a waste, to be stepping away from the work you have in front of you, but it’ll make you feel accomplished and competent to wear something you like and that makes an impression!
Heck, do the superhero pose for five minutes before leaving the house. It’s believed by some to make you feel more confident and to perform better under stress.
Make a plan
Set a goal of meeting five new people. Plan to give away a certain number of business cards. Decide who you’ll attend with. Look through the guest list if it’s available. Being prepared will help get the jitters out.
Bring a buddy!
Having someone by your side can help, but make a rule that you’ll only spend the first 15 minutes talking to each other. You can reconnect throughout the event, but when you do, compare notes. Did someone you spoke with seem to be a good business match with the person you came with? If so, make the introduction. Both parties will thank you for it.
Have a drink
OK, don’t be the person in the corner dancing with a lampshade on your head, but alcohol is a known social lubricant and even a small glass of wine or a beer will help lower your inhibitions enough for small talk. And frankly, it gives you something to do with your hands. Not a drinker? Get a cup of coffee or a tall glass of water to make you feel more casual.
Fan out with your hand out
It’s a networking event. People expect you to walk up to them and start talking. It’s not a faux pas to stick out your hand and say, “Hi, I’m such and such from My Own Company!” Everyone else there is probably as nervous as you are!
Remember the wise words of Inigo Montoya. Who are you? How are you connected? What do you want to talk about?
It sounds rude, but really it’s a great way to get into a good conversation that’s already flowing. Hear a few words that make your ears prick up? Stop, smile at the person who is speaking, and wait for a place where you can make a salient point. Make that point and get into the conversation.
Really listen when people are telling you about themselves. Stop trying to think of something clever to say. Stop thinking about how cool this person is and how you’d like to work with them. Listen to what they’re saying and it’ll make a bigger impression than if you rambled on about your business for a full minute.
Not the Worst After All
Ah, humans. Primitively anyway, we had to rely on others for survival, yet we’ve come to love our phones and solitude so much we’ve abandoned the need for real connection. We write reviews about businesses we like and we can post about our own businesses all day, but without a human network to connect with, we’ll all shrivel and die.
OK, that’s dramatic, but remember, when Indian Falls Chalets posts online, they get five, 10, even 20 engagements on each post because they have a network of supporters in the real world.
So, need a buddy for your next networking event? We go to most of them. Reach out and we’ll happily be your date.