In a world of Twitter, Linkedin and email, it is easy to forget about the “old school” methods of selling yourself or your client. Instead of picking up the phone, we find ourselves pecking at our keyboards, looking for ways we can build our virtual report.
Sure, the use of online tools to make us or our clients sound fabulous may be efficient but the most successful among us know just how important deliberate networking and relationship building can be.
When I started in this industry my biggest fear used to be talking to the media and to our clients. What do I say? What if I mess up? These were things that often crossed my mind and rightfully so. I mean after all, I was no expert, not yet anyways.
I quickly learned that no one was going to take me seriously if I didn’t give them a reason to.
Because, let’s face it—if you want to make the best impression and move relationships with key media folks or prospective clients forward, you have to spend time away from our desk, emails and computers making those connections and showing them why you are the best.
The strategies to doing so are simple.
Fill your calendar
Relationships won’t build themselves on their own. Participate in industry, trade and association meetings; chamber of commerce and civic business organization luncheons; even networking and awards events build relationships and open doors to new allies and potential clients. My opinion--you can never network too much!
It’s like asking the guy you really like out on a first date. Will he say yes? Will he say no? Will he completely ignore me and make me feel like an idiot? Initially I found this to be a scary task (no one wants to be rejected) but over time I learned that the folks I was reaching out to actually appreciate it. Whether it was a coffee meeting or lunch, I was no longer the girl behind the screen but a real person with ideas and spunk!
The follow up
Aristotle said, “Effective networking is not an act, but a habit.” One networking event or coffee date isn’t enough. To sustain long-lasting professional relationships, make sure to make networking part of your daily life. After your meetings, send an email thanking your colleague for his or her time. And, don’t be afraid to reach out and set up additional meetings.
People like doing business with people they like. So, what are some of the strategies you or your team use when building relationships with members of the media or prospective clients?