Three Ways to Expand Your Network this Holiday Season
The holidays are upon us and one of the most striking benefits of the holiday season are the opportunities to connect. There will be more networking opportunities, and alongside these opportunities, you’ll find that individuals tend to be more open and more engaged. This is what makes the holiday season a great time of the year to build new connections, strengthen and reconnect with colleagues.
Networking is critical to your personal growth and business development. So though your days are likely busy, you’ll benefit greatly by taking the time to strengthen and maximize your network this holiday season.
3 Segments of Your Audience to Connect with to Expand & Strengthen Your Network:
- Connect with new people. You never know who might become strategic partners, prospects, clients, or peers. The more people you meet, the more people there will be to get to know and remember both you and your business. If you make a great impression, you and your business stand out and it may lead to new referrals. On the same token, sometimes relationships that begin slower become some of the best long-term relationships. Remember that a solid business is built on connection.
- Reconnect with partners and colleagues. You didn’t mean to fall out of touch with old partners and colleagues, it just happened… you get busy, you change jobs, you move on. There was once a time when you both shared common interests or had common goals. It’s never too late to catch up on things and reestablish that connection. They can provide fresh, new perspectives from meeting different people and learning different things in the time you were apart. It can be awkward at first to reach out to them, but reconnecting can energize you and bring unexpected business opportunities that your current network may not be providing.
- Appreciate your current clients. There is an old saying that “customers are the lifeblood of every business”. This means that maintaining customer loyalty should be a top priority for every business. It is the loyal customers who will show up, buy from you time and time again, and refer to your product and services. Consider offering special discounts or incentives to let you know you appreciate them.
We talked about the three segments of your audience above. Now let’s talk about how to partake in activities that could expand your network with each of these segments, leading to stronger sales and more business opportunities.
3 Actions to Support Expanding Your Network:
- Attend community networking events. Whether it is a Happy Hour format, an industry-specific seminar, a luncheon, or a conference/trade show setup, the goal is the same… Attending a networking event is the first step toward meeting other professionals and/or customers. These events can help you increase the chances of mingling with your ideal prospects who should know about your business and brand.
- Set up individual one-to-one meetings in person or virtually. One-on-one meetings create a personal connection, build trust, and furnish immediate feedback on the topics at hand. These meetings also create an environment where individuals can discuss their thoughts in person and collaboration occurs more naturally. When networking one-to-one, be sure to ask how you can support the individual you are meeting with.
- Host your own event. Hosting an event is a fantastic way for you and your business to get immediate exposure within the community and to connect people together. Small Business Saturday is a great event to participate in. In last month’s blog “How To Prepare Your Business For Small Business Saturday“, I shared 5 ways to help you prepare for this special event.
By taking the time and incorporating these steps to strengthen and expand your network, you are well on your way to ending this year strong and starting the new year with a stronger network for both you and your business.
About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.