As a new company, what is the most effective way of networking for new clients?
Worked in several different industries all over the world and specializing in document control, writing procedures/job instructions/ manuals, cleaning up electronic filing systems and streamlining processes and wanting to gain clients all over the world.
Find the groups and networks that are in your industry and build one relationship at a time. Find a client through that networking, and use your system. Then utilize that client as a reference for the work you do and build credibility in your genre of work expertise. Bootstrap it until you are making money. Then once you have your client base and are reaching out, use a website with a splash page to get people to opt in and do survey's as you move along in your company and revamp as necessary as you grow.
I found that joining your Chamber of Commerce, at least I feel ours is a great way to meet and network with others,have a place on their website, be a part of their round table meetings headed by a member of the Small Business Association, be in their year book, learn what is happening in your area that has a bearing on businesses, exchange ideas that might help each other, learn more about your community, get known. I have met some wonderful people that I have become close friends
Dee (Denyse) Bauer
There are so many things you can do, you'll have fun getting started.. My suggestions would be directed to the market segments you choose to target and do business in.
1. Make cold calls to places that can use your products/services
2. Use social media such as LinkedIn. You can ask to connect with someone, once they connect, start asking them questions that may help you build business or set up an appointment.
3. Join associations in your field. They usually have networking events and trade shows.
4. Join a civic club/group such as the Chamber of Commerce. They have networking groups and meetings and often you can ask someone to introduce you to someone you want to meet.
5. Buy a mailing list and try direct mail.
5. Once you join an association get their email list of members and send out emails to make folks aware of your business!
Hi Andrea, some good advise,
I'm sure that you are already doing most of this.
Just to add.
1) Get involved with LinkedIn join discussion groups within your main field of experience, i.e if it's engendering / manufacture, seek them out.
2) Participate in discussions, give your advise in general, and were possible provide some of your insight regarding you work experiences, People like real stories, They will also get a feel about you as a person.
3) Link with senior people of companies you are interested in working for.
4) Generate discussion questions around your field of work. Respond to each comment.
5) Start a blog. a topic a week or every 2 weeks. Make it short one page. provide a problem / solution. Indicate the importance of doc control or procedures. In some countries like in Australia, OH&S work practice procedures are becoming mandatory, with heavy fine for non compliance.
6) Pick a hot topic once a month, that will generate conflicting views for discussion.
It all about gaining credibility, always on your blog provide a call to action.
In your profile page provide contact details. also provide a statement relating to what you can do for the client. answer the internal question "What's in it for me"
Maybe somthing like, providing peace of mind through compliance relating to ....
A quick glance of the reply's you have received, I see some excellent advice. My only possible added thought would be to have you consider "Thinking Outside The Box". What I mean is that it may not bare fruit to target the "A's" where your message maybe muted by the masses. My experience is that this also opens a door to pricing wars. Networking is as good as knowing when your highest ROI of time is to be received. An example that I can share from recent experience is that I attended a well known and very active group of business owners. Although I would easily show returns that would tower over most of their online enabled marketing options, I was not herd as the majority of those attending were focused on connecting with prospective clients themselves.
I would consider first the type of target and not just segment. Example: Would you be best targeting the distributor, other middle, or the end user. I have also found it advisable to consider investing limited dollars into networking during annual niche events. I may also suggest that you Google your trade and then the organizations you are to consider networking. If you add the name of one of your competitors with the target organization, I believe you will gain the intelligence of better targeting where you will do best with your networking.
Pick one topic that you can blow the doors off your competition with then once you are in the door and have demonstrated how valuable you are, let them know what else you can do.
Lots of good advice already about finding your market niche. Let go a bit deeper in identifying and selecting your niche. Research your top three to five areas of interest and experience. Assess the key players who can afford your services and are willing to pay. Define what the benefits are of your technical writing services and skills. Couple this talent with a personal interest and you're more likely to excel personally, professionally, and financially.
Networking is nothing compared to relationships. Relationships provide recommendations and open doors versus the coldness and risks of networking, especially online..
But, before you go to your relationships to ask for help, be specific (target audience) about who and what you want to help the prospective client achieve and why your work makes the client's life/business better. Cite such values as scalability, consistency to standards, reduction of errors, and other real problems solve or opportunities opened up.
Make it so your relationships feel like heroes for having made a meaningful and profitably connect.
Belong to an Association that covers your areas of expertise. Provide training seminars that provide CEU credits.
The besting to do is to invest sometime in attending networking seminars, inviting people to your business regularly [throw a party or similar event, to attract individuals], Finally once you've attained a primitive amount of audience, take care of them an have them invite others... "I know it worked for my business, ones or twice".
Before you start networking for new clients I would suggest ensuring you have a strong core message so when you introduce yourself, your prospects instantly know:
Who you are and what you do
Who you help and how
Why they should do business with you.
Forget about presenting your services or products. In reality, when you are networking with prospects they are only asking themselves 3 things:
1) Do I know what you do and can it help me?
2) Do I like you enough to work with you?
3) Can I trust what you say the outcome will be is actually what I will get.