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Networking is a Contact Sport

By: Robert Middleton

Robert Middleton, of Action Plan Marketing in Palo Alto, Calif., has helped hundreds of professional service businesses attract new clients and get paid what they're worth.

His website is a resource for marketing professional services. Visit it at Action Plan Marketing.

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This week I picked up Harvey Mackay's book on Networking, "Dig Your Well before You're Thirsty" and after reading 75 pages I started to think that maybe networking is the ONLY marketing plan you really need. It certainly can be the most powerful.

Here's 7 important networking tips for your service business:

  1. Make networking the cornerstone of your marketing plan. -- It IS who you know. Get out there, make connections, develop relationships and stay in touch. For almost all successful small businesses, this is the KEY to their success.

  2. Let your network help you. -- Last week I recommended to a client that he make the first about his new business to the people he already knew. I told him to call and ask them for feedback on the new marketing materials we'd developed. This way he could improve his materials as well as make contacts to potential clients.

  3. Use your network to help your clients. -- A client has a problem you can't solve. Do you leave it to them to find the right person or can you tap into your network of associates? Having a solid network makes you even more valuable.

  4. Networking is for the long-term. -- I remember when I first started my business over 13 years ago. I found every networking group around, attended and met a lot of new people. Not only did I find new clients, many of these people are still in my network and we're still helping each other.

  5. Network Electronically. -- The significant other of a client asked if she could announce this newsletter in her professional association's email newsletter. I said yes and got many new subscribers. One, an old contact, called me and got me a speaking engagement at the Commonwealth Club and on his TV program.

  6. Network to increase your professionalism. -- Networking through your professional organization can teach you about your industry, inform you of what your competition is doing and improve your professional skills. If you don't belong it's like running your business in the dark.

  7. Keep your network informed. -- Call, send newsletters, invite to events, send email, send magazine articles. Do anything and everything to stay in touch. If you don't stay in touch it's no longer a network!

© Copyright 2000, Robert Middleton

Other Articles by Robert Middleton

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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