Networking really works!
I have proved this time and time again over the past few years and never is it more evident than when I attend specific networking events organized by a city’s Chamber of Commerce, or my own Craft and Hobby Association.(CHA).
Of course I always knew this, but when you really put yourself out there and do it right, it pays off in spades (and hearts and stars and moons and…).
Not just the physical face-to-face networking, either. I recently participated in a wonderful Arts Symposium called ‘Creativity Connected‘ and the resulting contacts and PAYING jobs are beyond my wildest expectations.
One large order was negotiated right at the show. When I returned from another wonderful networking and learning experience – The CHA Designers Retreat), I had two messages waiting for me. Both of them basically said, “I saw your booth at the show, and even though you weren’t there at the time , I want you.”
So what does this say?
It confirms for me that I can sell myself even when I am not there. It means my 6-foot table spoke for me. And it has also made me rethink my approach to craft shows because 9 times out of 10, I actually make more money through these networking events!
The importance of presentation
This is what my set-up looked like, nothing fancy, but it worked:
I placed my business cards at both ends of the table. All pertinent information was highly visible and easy to read. I wanted it to be a true representation of me, my style, and what I have to offer. I wanted my sense of humour and passion to shine. Perhaps that is why I was able to attract people and get business even when I wasn’t there.
Which brings me to business cards:I have several. Because I wear many hats I like to tailor my presentation ( which includes my personal appearance and artistic display, and resume) to my audience, because the audience DOES change. Will I be selling or just displaying? What am I promoting? What is the purpose of this show and what do I hope to accomplish?
These issues are all taken into account when I prepare for a show.
And with each show, or symposium, or workshop, I learn. I also like to walk the floor and really take notice of what everyone else is doing. What stands out? What pushes me away?
I try to leave a lasting impression.
I am thrilled when I get a call or email from someone who met someone I met at a show. The person I spoke with was thinking about me and promoted ME. Now that’s what I call networking!