Ask The Expert, Stationery, Tips and Tricks, Weddings

November 12, 2020

4-Month Networking Map

4-Month Networking Map

IF YOU CRINGE AT THE THOUGHT OF NETWORKING…

DON’T SKIP THIS!

Seriously, I know this is scary. I know you’re probably thinking that you don’t need to network or want to network. I’m here to tell you that this will make a HUGE difference in your business and WILL impact your bottom line!

Best of all: you don’t have to spend a bunch of money on advertising that you’re not sure will pay off.

Here’s the thing: we stationers and calligraphers are one of the only disciplines within the wedding industry that isn’t required to be on site for a wedding…and 99 times out of one hundred, we usually aren’t.

But everyone else that’s been emailing and calling throughout the year leading up to the wedding day is there! They’re making connections face-to-face, even if it’s fleeting and everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, or focused completely on their work. They’re still there, present and accounted for.

So if we’re only communicating via email or phone calls with other vendors before delivering a product, what do you think our chances are of developing excellent relationships with them? You know, the relationships where you’re each others’ first thought when it comes to referral time?

SLIM.

Ever heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind?” I hate to break it to you, but our entire niched industry can be summed up with that saying. YOU will always be out of mind if you’re not being thought of. You’ve lost the game if you’re not the first person that comes to mind when someone says, “Who should I send my clients to for invitations?”

So how do you wriggle your way into the forefront of people’s minds?

Easy: you form relationships with them. You make them care about you, respect you, and admire your work/work ethic/ideas/etc. And how do you do that? NETWORKING.

Networking is just a scary name for building relationships. But networking doesn’t have to be scary, and it isn’t – with the right mindset. If you walk into a networking event and know no one, what are the chances people will remember something you said or did while you were there?

SLIM.

Don’t forget (seriously, don’t ever forget) that people are 100% wrapped up in themselves. They’re making sure they’re not saying something dumb, or tripping over a chair, or they’re planning what they’re going to say in response to what someone else is saying. This might hit some of you pretty hard (and I promise I’m not saying it to be mean or harsh), but:

NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU UNTIL YOU MAKE THEM CARE.

It’s a little harsh, I know – but it’s also SO freeing! When I discovered this and really let it sink it, it allowed me to be more free when meeting new people. I realized that I was just another warm body in the room, or another email in some’s inbox, or another comment on someone’s Instagram post. You’re the center of your own world, so everything you do and say is magnified in your mind. But everyone else feels exactly the same way about themselves. What are the chances that you’re going to occupy more than a fraction of their thoughts, when they’re so busy worrying about themselves?

Networking is one of those activities that can yield both business relationships AND friendships!Think about that and let it sink in for a moment. Let the shackles of worrying about being judged by other people fall away. Forget imagining people in their birthday suits to alleviate the anxiety. The people you’re networking with are worried about the exact same thing you are: not messing up when they’re meeting new people.

Once you’ve thought about and embraced that thought, now you’re ready to network.

I know better than most that networking can make even the most confident person sweat – not to mention all of my introverts out there! After relocating my business over 3,000 miles from South Florida to Seattle, Washington without knowing a SOUL, I knew it was time to get over my fear of networking so that I could grow my business.

I networked so hard and spent so much time building the buzz around my biz that I had increased my revenue 600% and earned the coveted title of Editor’s Pick for “Best Invitations” from Seattle Bride Magazine. And guys, I did that within 12 months of unpacking my bags.

Since then, I’ve built up a strong community of local vendors who I refer clients to, get referrals from, share ideas and advice with, and most importantly, have formed genuine friendships with. It’s hard to make friends as an adult, especially when you’re a solo-preneur, and networking is one of those activities that can yield both business relationships AND friendships!

With my knowledge of networking, I shared an in-depth look at what it means to market yourself through networking during the inaugural Stationer’s Summit, where I taught over 700 stationers how to put their best marketing foot forward. From that, the 4-Month Networking Map was born!

You might be saying: “But Holly, we’re in the middle of a pandemic right now! How can I network?!”

And you’re totally right, you can’t network the way we could last year anymore. In-person networking may not be available where you live, but this is the best time to start planning for your reintroduction into the wedding world when it’s safe again. Plus, you can ALWAYS network remotely! (Yes, that’s a thing!)

In this guide, I’ll go over some tips and tricks including:

  • Ways to use the Networking Map (whether you’ve moved or not) to foster more relationships and build a referral system
  • Multiple monthly goals to build your networking “strength”
  • Step-by-step instructions to develop new relationships through a natural progression…just say no to cringe-worthy DM’s!
  • Guidelines for how (and how often) to reach out to new contacts
  • Includes a pre-designed map (the one I used myself when I moved!) to track your progress – print it out or use it digitally!

 

4-Month Networking Map

Pin me to save this for later!

If you’re ready to up your efficiency AND cultivate some amazing and worthwhile relationships in the wedding world, I’ve got a special deal for you!

As part of my “Build Your Best Stationery Business” resource collection, you can buy “5 Tricks to Up Your Efficiency” (valued at $19) AND the “4-Month Networking Map” (valued at $16) as a discounted bundle! For a limited time, you can snag both of these for $25 – that’s $10 off (whaaat)! Click the link here to grab the bundle and HAPPY LEARNING!

 

Holly Signature

 

P.S. – Have you signed up for my email list? This is where you’ll receive news about educational resources, new blog posts, product releases, and more – but no spamming you, I promise. Sign up at the bottom of this page to receive my FREE “30+ Days of Social Media Content” download to help you generate a full month of original, engaging content for social media! 

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