Recently, I had the great honor to be invited as a guest on the Women Speakers Association’s WSA-TV, hosted by Laura Rubinstein. I joined Leisa Reid from Get Speaking Gigs Now to discuss leveraging networking to grow a speaking business. Below is a recap of some of the information Leisa and I shared in our conversation with Laura.
Establish Your Brand by Networking
Networking is a great channel for establishing your brand because it is a marketing channel. And it’s great at all phases in your business. But networking can be a time suck, so choose where you network wisely. Your time is valuable, so be very selective. Try a few things out and find the right place to network. Network early and network often. Then use that to establish your brand. I see a lot of disconnect about the importance of networking in establishing your brand.
What you need to know is that, at the end of the day, your brand is all about trust. Your clients have to trust you to hire you. If you go to a networking event, you’re talking about who you are. You may hand out your business card, which results in the people you meet going to your LinkedIn profile or website. But what if they don’t feel like that brand matches the person they met in the room? That disconnect disintegrates the trust you were just starting to establish.
Being consistent and showing up places will help your networking to be more effective.
The Base Minimum for Branding
I am an advocate of what I call minimum viable marketing. That means you don’t really have to have all of the marketing things, but there are basics. They include:
Buy this even if you’re not ready to build a website. Get your branding email address. A Gmail address just isn’t good enough. After all, you don’t work for Google.
Yes, this is the 21st century, but we’re still using business cards. Use a card that adequately represents you. Having your photo on there is a good idea.
In Lieu of a Website
If you’re not ready to build a website, take your domain and point it at your LinkedIn profile or the social network that’s appropriate for your audience. Then optimize the crap out of that profile. It had better be on point and consistent.
Leveraging Networking to Figure Out Your Brand
One of the things my clients run into is that we all have an opinion. We have opinions on what software and technology to use, what you should be doing in your business, and where you should be networking. When you arrive at a networking event, be clear about what you need. There will be a point in time when you’ll be able to give a mini presentation at a networking event to introduce yourself. Be able to do that. And one of the things you’ll be asked to do is share one thing you need.
If you’re always asking for clients, you might be leaving opportunities on the table. Sure, we probably always need clients, but think about the other things you need in your business. Do you want some insight on what other people are using to manage their customers? Do you want to know how other people are using social? Is there something you could benefit from having insight from someone else who’s like you and experiencing a challenge that you’re facing? That is a very powerful way of leveraging networking and building trust.
You want to not only be leveraging networking to grow your own business; you want to leverage other people’s knowledge and wisdom.
From Networking to Speaking
As Leisa puts it, “Networking is one of the key secrets” when it comes to getting booked and staying booked. If you can network with other speakers, so much the better. And if you’re involved in an association, such as the Women Speakers Association, there’s a social media component to networking as well.
Social media networking should come from an authentic, genuine place. When that connection occurs between two people, it can be pretty amazing.
Speakers are often working by themselves, so networking is a great way to be around people. When you’re with other speakers, you can leverage your time better. Plus, you get increased knowledge you can’t know on your own.
And if you have a network of speakers, you might even get a call to go in someone’s place because they’re sick or double booked. It may not happen often, but it does happen.
To put it simply, networking is an old-fashioned marketing channel that stands the test of time.
How Can I Help?
Do you have questions about leveraging networking or technology to build your business and secure more speaking opportunities? Let’s schedule a time to chat. I look forward to learning more about you.