Four Tips for Better Networking

Talking about your staffing agency at the local coffee shop, community center or grocery store is a great way to informally network and promote your business, but not all networking should be impromptu.


You need goals and you need to know where the best opportunities exist to help you meet them.


Here are four tips for better networking.


Build your audience


Every community has chambers of commerce, rotary clubs or other civic organizations that are prime spots for networking opportunities. But if the people whom you want to reach don’t know you’re there and don’t make connections with you during the meet-and-greet time, what have you accomplished?


Make it known you are there and love talking about the value your clients get from being in business with your firm. Find out what it takes to be the speaker at an upcoming function or have a booth at an event to pass out materials about your firm’s offerings, especially if you’re just starting a staffing agency.


Publicize your presence at these functions. Make sure the people you want to do business with know you’re going to be available and show them how your staffing services can help make their business better.


Be a volunteer


Community service can provide tremendous benefits to those who need the assistance, but it’s OK to recognize it can also do a lot for your company’s image. If people see you’re out helping people and giving your time and talent, there’s a better chance they’ll think of you when a staffing need arises.


In these situations, the low-key approach is the way to go. Exchange contact info and make an effort to stay in touch, but don’t force the conversation to be about your business. Let it come up naturally. Just smile, work hard and get to know these other volunteers. Your presence as part of a team is enough to send the message you want to deliver.


Find a common cause


Public speaking is something many people fear. If that’s you, consider a group like Toastmasters, which puts you in a group with people who have the same trepidation and the same desire to develop a new skill.


This gives you a common cause that you’re all pursuing, which can be very helpful in developing new relationships. You’re going to share stories about your business, they’re going to share stories about their business and you’ll learn about each other. That’s what networking is all about.


Track your results


While there are many ways to network, some work better than others. Make it a point to meet with your team and talk about which organizations or which networking opportunities produce the best results.


If Toastmasters doesn’t work for you, don’t do it anymore. If they loved you at the last chamber meeting, make sure you get back on the calendar for another speaking engagement. Take the time to think about your results so you can focus more intently on the opportunities that really pay off.