Networking Peer to Peer will not grow your business
For golf industry professionals networking should be easy. We are in the people business and by nature we are social creatures. The golf industry is a very tightly knit group. Most us will share, update and discuss the state of the industry multiple times during the year with many different groups of people. For most of us, what we can always improve is to take better advantage of all the networking opportunities that are available to us everyday that allow us to meet new potential customers for our businesses.
Prepare to Network
Join a Meet up Group and/or local business organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Organizations and BNI (Business Network International) Chapters. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your business and be prepared to ask open-ended questions to engage the person you are talking to. When you answer the question ‘what do you do?’, be specific but not overly long-winded. Remember, this is an opportunity to do a 60 to 90 second infomercial about yourself and your business. Give some thought in advance as to what you will say and follow these tips:
- Always, ALWAYS have business cards with you.
- Be memorable, in a good way. Be positive.
- Collect information. Giving out your business cards isn’t nearly as important as collecting others’.
- Be a great listener. Make eye contact when people are talking and listen carefully for an opportunity to ask questions.
- Be visible. Try out a variety of different networking groups to meet people. Chances are your competitors are not talking to the ‘construction group’ on meetup.com but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.
- Be patent. It takes time to figure out people and what a new potential customer might want.
- Reach out on a social media channel. You have collected business cards for a reason. LinkedIn is a great tool to use for a second connection (assuming your first in-person connection was a solid one).
- Follow-up by phone or email in a friendly way if (and ONLY if) you have made a solid connection with someone.
Networking events are like first meetings, the goal is to establish a relationship and connection with people. In large part this is done by focusing on what you can add to their situation or conversation as opposed to what you get from them. People will be much more receptive to you if you are a good listener and they feel like you can help them.
We, Jeff & Tara Ciecko of CK Golf Solutions write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other a Biz Blog where we comment on business best practices and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf Solutions for 7+ years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries. We DO NOT get paid for ANY of the blogs on our website. These are the places we visit and the things we do because we want to. When we say that we like or dislike something or have a good or bad experience this is our opinion and the truth as we see it. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us anytime.