As you know, online networking involves tweeting, linking in and facing up to colleagues and potential customers in the webosphere.
Offline, on the other hand, networking involves meeting people, shaking hands and looking them straight in the eye.
It can be scary!
Since you are bright, brave and beautiful you will take on this challenge with style and verve. And I, Anna Colibri, am here to help!
Preparation is Key
The best thing you can do to boost the success of your (offline) marketing efforts is to be prepared.
You will need 5 things:
- Elevator speech
- Business cards
- 10 minute speech
- A list
Willingness? you ask. Let’s break it down step by step.
Step #1: Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a 30 second speech that hooks people into wanting to know more. It provides this information:
- What you do (in words anyone can understand) and
- Who you do it for
Good example: “I help small businesses get customers using social media sites like Facebook to rock their marketing.”
Bad example: “I help small, medium and large businesses plus Fortune 500 companies increase their customer base using offline and online technologies to create and implement integrated marketing communications plans.”
I think you see the difference! :)
The thing with an elevator speech is you have to practice. First practice with your cat, then your children, then your partner and then take it to an actual elevator. With practice, you can field the inevitable (or at least hoped-for) questions.
Step #2: Business Cards
Provide people with a way to follow up. That would be a business card. Keep the cards as simple and beautiful as possible: your name, logo, tagline, phone number and professional email address are enough. Maybe you can throw a Twitter handle into the mix if you are feeling frisky or your Twitter presence is significant.
Case-in-point: I love my business cards! And, more than 80% of the time, when I hand people my card, they actually pause and say, “How beautiful!” (So, kudos and gratitude to Stephen Standridge, awesome graphic designer).
The cards not only provide a genuine lift to other people, but they also boost my own confidence. It’s a win-win (and, they are printed on recycled card stock!).
Step #3: A Speech
I realize we are now getting into really scary territory. Here’s the thing. It’s fun to talk about yourself, your brand and how you are making the world a more beautiful, shiny place.
So. Put together a speech that focuses on how you can be of service to others. You will be less nervous and they will be more grateful.
As with the elevator speech, you will need to practice it in front of the cat, your children, your partner and then maybe friends or trusted colleagues.
I said it was scary and it is. Do it anyway.
Step #4: A List
Normally, lists aren’t scary. But this one is. It is a list of events at which, and people with whom, you can share your expertise.
First you comb your personal contacts, then you take a look at your LinkedIn connections and finally you do industry research. From there you generate a list of people to whom you can reach out and offer a free session on a topic of interest to them.
Step #5: Become Willing
I know. It sounds a little like a 12 Step meeting. Truly, though, this is the hardest part of all. In order to be successful, you will need to be willing to put yourself out there into the world. It's okay. Chances are, you are great at what you do. So don't be shy!
You have distilled what you do into 30 seconds and you have practiced communicating it (out loud, to someone besides your cat).
You have a list of people with whom you can share this valuable — yes, valuable! — information.
Now you email or call and offer to share, in person, your insights.
Pro tip: Bring your marketing materials, but be prepared with genuinely useful information and, if possible, resources. This is a time to show, not just tell.
How do you network offline? If you’ve done a lot of it, how do you get the courage and inspiration to put yourself out there? Share with us in the comments.