Building relationships and networking has been the topic of discussion for the Interior Plantscape Association board over the past few months.
As small business owners, we understand the importance of networking. Your ability to network, meet people, and create relationships will very often determine your success in business. However, that doesn’t mean most of us are very good at it. Sometimes we have a difficult time starting conversations and even keeping the relationships that we do start.
In my experience, I have found networking invaluable. However, to do that you have to attend events and then make contact after the event with the people you meet. Obviously, you cannot attend every event or conference but why not make it your mission to attend at least one or two big events each year, either a conference or expo. Or, contact one of our members in another State and introduce yourself! A member recently communicated with us, saying ‘The contacts I have made through IPA are certainly valuable!!’
I would like to share with you a few points I have found helpful when building relationships and networking:
Immediately after I return from the event I jot down information about everything that happened:
- Who I met
- What we talked about
- What was the most important information about the people I met (i.e. interests, kids, projects they are working on)
- Whose business cards I collected and why
- What topics kept coming up with everyone I met
- Did I promise to call/email/connect with someone?
Getting this all down on paper while it is still fresh in your mind will leave you better prepared for follow up conversations. It will help you remember important information, and can assist to record your new contacts. Then, it is important to create a reason to follow up these contacts. For our members, we have designed a flyer that could be sent out to potential clients you have recently met. You can find it here, or, if you need a print ready copy, contact our office on (M) 0452 590 255. You never know the value of building relationships and networking is worth until you start!
If you have any ideas on building relationships and networking you would like to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next month!
Arthur Stacey – 2018 IPA President
(M) 0412 494 441