Afraid of public speaking? My unscientific research proved the fear of public speaking more common than the fears of spiders, heights, darkness and flying. Learning to speak well is a surefire way to boost your business.
First, you’ll have to promote yourself as an expert in your field. I started out speaking and presenting to small, city- and county-based lawyer Bar associations, in front of as few as 4 attorneys. My pay was prestige, and I used these early events as currency for larger, more regional opportunities, such as my recent seminar at the State Bar of Alabama’s Annual Meeting & Legal Expo.
Your personal branding statement, formerly known as your “elevator speech,” is often the only chance you have of making an impact on someone.
Want numbers like these when you do your vanity check?
What’s the first thing you do each time you load up LinkedIn? If you’re like me and countless others, you look for the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” section and hope to see big numbers.
But how do you influence LinkedIn so those numbers go up, and you get more connections requests, messages, and potentially job offers?
As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn, for both networking and for finding new clients. With more than 100 million professionals, Neilson Online refers to it at “the world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals.”
So why is no one calling or connecting with you?
I’m working on a full LinkedIn course, but I’ll give away two secrets why you’re not attracting more clients. And if you’re reading this and not on LinkedIn, go there, set up your profile and then come back here — it’s that important.
First, you’re waiting for them to come to you.
Seriously, prospects and customers won’t just show up or beat down your virtual doors because you’re on LinkedIn. You have to go out and reach them instead. And make them know about you. Do this by having:
- A 100% complete profile
- Status message updated daily (or more)
- Writing recommendations on people and service providers
Second, you join groups. Just not the right groups.
LinkedIn’s settings permit you to join up to 50 different groups. But most people just sit there like wallflowers, lurking yet never participating in the conversation. Or worse, you only join groups where there are like members. I made this mistake myself early on, joining a bunch of consulting groups. Lots of consultants, no clients. So if you cater to attorneys, join groups where the membership is primarily attorneys.
Social networking is all about being social — you’ve got to participate. And it costs nothing but time. If you want to create thought leadership around yourself or your brand, you’ve got to let the world know you’re out there.
The "original" networker?
Benjamin Franklin had the right idea when he established the Junto, or Leather Apron Club, in 1727. Among other things, the clubs’ purpose was to exchange knowledge of business affairs. In other words, network. During club meetings, members were asked a series of questions regarding community members and their successes and failures. Strategies and ideas for acquiring wealth were shared throughout the club.
What a great idea for you to develop your own source of leads! Form your own local business network. Make it a point to know noncompeting businesses in your market and create a community where you can get together and discuss business ideas, local marketing, zoning issues, etc. It’s likely your best leads will come from people outside of your industry, so court them in your networking group. Many of your existing clients probably cater in some fashion to the local community, so make sure they are first to be invited to your group. The best networking groups often invite a guest speaker or presenter to talk about something pertinent to the group or their industry. Leads and referrals will happen naturally.
In addition to gathering new leads, networking can often provide a lifeline of support and can help you develop knowledge and skills. Networking is a great way to boost your reputation and can be a key source for information relevant to your business. You can network through social events, organized meetings and conferences, business trips, or even electronically through online messaging systems. If creating your own networking group isn’t feasible, consider joining an already-established network. Many industries already have networks set up that can range in size from just a few members to hundreds of members.
Learn from others who have succeeded in industry. Reach out, swap ideas and come prepared with a notion on how the group could succeed. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a new friend to throw some business your way.