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How to communicate effectively with your network

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:12pm | by Helen Hoart

We’re often told that to generate support for our latest project we need to tap into our network, contact our friends and families. What usually happens then is we send an email—something along these lines:  “Hi guys, I’m starting a new blog about marketing … so if  you know some advertisers” or “I’m launching my freelance business … so if you need any help let me know.”

Or if we want to reach a broader audience we use social media. We tell our Facebook friends or tweet about it.  We think that will really get the word out and business will come rolling in.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

An email or social media is one-way communication. Sure someone can respond to your email or comment on Facebook or even retweet your tweet. But you’re not having a conversation. You’re not giving yourself a chance to sell yourself, a chance to show the value you can offer someone, according to Alan Weiss, a consultant, speaker and best-selling author.

Instead of email, get started by telephoning people in your network. Call your family, friends and colleagues. This becomes two-way communication and allows you to share your passion and enthusiasm for your new venture, Weiss says. And the end result may be a person-to-person meeting with a new advertiser for your blog or a new client for your free-lance business.

Here’s another interesting suggestion from Weiss. Expand your networking to include your doctor, your dentist, your mechanic, your hairdresser. How many times have you recommended your dentist or hairdresser to a friend or colleague? Why not have them return the favor. Spend some time educating them on what you do, what value you give to your clients. I know, I know, you’re thinking my dentist is busy; my doctor will barely talk to me. Give it a try anyway. And also discuss your business and capabilities with the receptionist.  Ask to leave your brochure, business cards and samples of your work. 

Give these suggestions a try and let us know how it goes.

Weiss, head of the Summit Consulting Group, is the author of The Consulting Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Expand a Seven-Figure Consulting Practice and many other books. 


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