The benefit of networking in the pursuit of new business is a topic dear to my heart. So, I was thrilled to lead the discussion on the subject at one of the recent “Brown Bags” we regularly conduct for staff during lunch on issues related to PR agency practices and business operations.
As an avid aficionado of alliteration, I had some fun expressing my personal definition of networking as (one aspect of) marketing, meetings, mingling, mailings, multi-faceted, (sometimes) maddening and mind (top of).
We talked about the many places and people ideal for networking in our industry, ranging from the obvious, such as professional groups like Publicity Club of Chicago, former clients and ad/marketing agencies, to the less evident sources of leads that can include social groups, suppliers and even the editorial media.
The brief “how to network” session covered serving on committees, connecting at events, using social media, just talking to folks and my favorite, sending notes (or in today’s world, e-mails). I read a few of my missives to illustrate how to make such communications meaningful, whether that’s forwarding a pertinent article to a contact, mentioning an upcoming event that may be of interest, citing some work we’ve done or informing them of a media opportunity ideal for them – no strings attached.
I closed with some personal anecdotes to illustrate the importance of never giving up (three years of e-mails netted one of our largest clients today), to be nice to everyone (a former job seeker we treated with respect called us 10 years later seeking a proposal) and to always think to network (we landed a nice project after a chance meeting in an elevator).
Networking can be fun – and profitable. That’s a winning daily double!