“For years, men have used the good-old-boy network,” says Deborah Temples, partner in an all-female law firm and president of Atlanta Women in International Trade. “It’s worked for them. This is our answer.” Her group has grown to some 200 members, all coming in with the mission of enhancing women’s careers in trade.
Ali Lassen’s Leads Clubs, founded in California by a single-mother-turned-entrepreneur, takes a direct approach. Every week, club members meet to promote their businesses and actively seek referrals from each other.
“There are lots of people who do marketing and advertising,” says Robbie Hunt of Victory Lane Marketing in Marietta, Ga., who won a contract for a $1,000 monthly retainer through an Ali Lassen Leads Club referral. “What makes a difference is when someone can provide a recommendation — such as ‘I know her. I know the kind of work she does.’”
Networking can be as informal as a periodic lunch date with former associates, each bringing a new acquaintance. Above all, think of this as a courtship, not a one-night stand. You’re trying to build relationships.
How can you network effectively? Here are some clues:
- Focus your efforts. Seek out industry-specific groups or functions with an atmosphere conducive to talking with and meeting others.
- Invest in high-quality business cards. They make the impression that people will take away with them.
- Listen more than you talk. Find out as much as you can about your new contacts and their possible business needs.
- Follow up. Send a brochure or a letter mentioning your business, to reinforce your first meeting.
- Be patient. Don’t expect your networking to bear fruit immediately. It may be months before someone needs your
- service — and remembers your name.
Know Your Market
How it can help: Welcome to LEADS CLUB, the networking pioneer and most respected lead-generating organization inthe world. LEADS CLUB offers success-oriented entrepreneurs the opportunity to build on a more than 20-year track record of profitability, growth and international recognition. 800-783-3761
How it can help: This organization is geared toward women entrepreneurs, executives, professionals and small businesses. It is the parent organization to over 30 women’s business organizations and networks representing 10,000 women around the world.