Successful Networking for Complementary Practitioners
Meeting people in person is a great way to build relationships and get to know potential contacts and clients. Networking is the chosen way to meet new clients for many coaches and therapists and well worth considering for your marketing.
Just going along to a meeting and hoping for the best, you need to have a plan for what you want to achieve.
What’s your goal?
Decide what you are aiming to achieve before going networking. This could be as simple as meeting an individual that you know is attending or introducing your services to 3 potential contacts.
There are many different networking opportunities and you don’t have to go for the obvious meetings. Research the different options in your local area and you will find a range to consider from paid weekly groups to local meetups, exhibitions to conferences and events. You also need to investigate who the other participants are likely to be, for example, some events are carried out with the same group whilst others are industry-based.
Take into consideration the time commitment for each of the different events. Some require you to attend every week and get up at the crack of dawn. Others such as conferences may be an intensive day or two but only happen once a year.
A practitioner friend attended a weekly meeting for 18 months and she even got involved in running them. She only gained 2 clients from the networking and although it was fun, it didn’t make good business sense. It cost her 4 hours plus the financial cost of getting there. Over 300 hours and £1000 for 2 clients wasn’t a good return for her efforts.
You are your brand
When you attend, make sure you reflect your brand from what you wear to the information you distribute whether it’s a business card or leaflet.
Often attendees of networking events are just there to sell. I’ve found relaxing and being interested in people works far better. By listening and asking great questions you’ll enter into far more useful conversations. This will result in them wanting to find out more about you too.
Know your message
Have your clear and concise marketing message ready so you can let people know who you help and what you help them with. This will be especially useful if you’re asked to do a quick introduction. Read this article on creating your marketing message.
You also need to have a clear next step for anyone who may be interested in working with you. This can be as simple as booking in a call and will save you from fumbling around trying to explain the different options.
Make sure you follow up with the people you met after the networking. If you leave it too long, the opportunity will be missed.
Let people know you’ll email them after the meeting so they’ll be expecting it. Getting into the habit of doing this after a networking event will pay dividends. The more personalised you can make your follow up the better. It is about building relationships so make notes if you need to.
Ensure your first email is sent with no strings attached. Instead, be helpful by offering them a solution to a problem they mentioned, or something of interest such as a link to an interesting article. If you can’t think of anything specific, a quick ‘good to meet you’ will start a conversation.
Networking is a brilliant way to find prospective clients for your complementary practice. It is a way of meeting new people and building your local profile. If you want to start networking successfully, contact me to find out how I can help you.