I don't know what most MT's think, but networking just "ain't my bag".
Don't get me wrong. It's not like I don't like people. If I didn't like people I wouldn't work in this field. But LARGE GROUPS of people?
And getting up and speaking in front of those LARGE GROUPS of people in a way that is supposed to grab their attention? Well, let's just say, the prospect doesn't exactly fill me with joys of spring.
A client of mine who worked as a corporate trainer once told me that there are two types of people when it comes to handling groups. There are those people that love to be around groups of people and they get re-energized from them. Then there are the second group that get re-energized from being on their own. The first group are extroverts, the latter introverts. Introverts can relate to people on a one on one basis very well. Extroverts handle groups better. BUT you can have a job dealing with groups, but actually be an introvert. She trained hundreds of people in big groups, but at the end of the day she had to be on her own to re-energize. She said that learning to deal with groups is just a matter of exposure. The more you do it, the easier it gets. So I've just got to keep on doing it. Thing is, when you get out of the way of doing it, going back to it can be hard!
Networking groups are good for business. I know this and I'm sure most small business owners know it too.
I've experienced it first hand and when I started my business I got to know the ins and outs of it. Consistency is a big thing. When I was consistent about going to one group and got to know people, I'd get clients. But over the past year or so I let it slip. My client base had got to where I didn't feel I needed to keep it up. It was a mistake to let it slip.
Last Saturday I ran into someone I knew from one of the networking groups I went to. I told her I was actually a member of the city's chamber of commerce, but didn't go to their meetings. She then said that she would start calling me on Friday mornings to make sure I was going. I like the lady since she has a good positive vibe about her and she speaks her mind about everything. She pointed out that I was wasting the membership dues if I wasn't going to the networking meetings.
I had a good think. I had got some referrals from their website which basically paid for the dues, but I wasn't making the most of the membership. Basically this was like getting a gym membership and never going. And just like going back to the gym can lead to sore muscles, I needed to get back into going and just get over that initial discomfort. So I've made a mid-year resolution to start going.
I think my running into the lady was one of those weird "universey thingies" that happens. (As Einstein says "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous"). My reason for this is because I had made it my goal to sell twice as many Christmas gift certificates this year over last year. I had only written this goal down a few days before running into her and I think that going to the Chamber meetings is going to be one approach in hitting that goal. There were at least 100 people at the meeting this morning and NOT ONE MASSAGE THERAPIST was there. So my "cunning plan" (sorry - Black Adder fan) is to be consistent about going and by the time December runs around my face will be well enough known to where people will consider buying certificates off me. I'll also give a discount to Chamber members. The other thing that will work in my favor is the fact that the lady who told me I should go knows a lot of people there so I'll give her referral cards and tell her for every 5 she send me, I'll give her a massage. She has had a couple of massages from me, so she knows who/what/where she is referring to.
My theory is that sometimes we've to do things that put us out of our comfort zone just to know ourselves a bit better and to make progress in business. And sometimes we get a wee nudge from somewhere directing us into that situation. My hope is that when December comes around I'll be back into the "groove" and my palms WON'T be sweating when I stand for my 30 minute commercial.
All I've got to do is practice..........
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