Do you network?
Now that you’ve published your book, you stand out as an expert in your field. and it is time to let everyone know about it.
And business networking events provide you with the perfect forum to do just that.
In essence, business networks provide forums for people to promote what they do. They are a way of sharing information, supporting each other and getting referrals and leads that will ultimately grow your business.
It's time to go out and make the most of them.
How does networking make you feel?
We’ve all heard the term 'networking'. And we don't always react with warmth.
It’s something you may have done in your previous career and it might bring associations or the corporate world -- something you were trying to escape!
Or it might make you shudder with fear at the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and having to strike up conversations. Not the best environments for introverts who find large groups draining.
I run seven business network groups for women across the East of England (Cambridgeshire and Suffolk for the locals!), and these are the three most common reasons that people tell me hold the back from attending network meetings.
They don’t believe they will get any sales.
They think they have to be pushy and ‘salesy’ like other people they’ve met at networking events.
They lack confidence to promote their own business particularly when they have to stand up and give a 60 second pitch.
Do any of these ring true for you?
However, networking with your book puts you in a unique position to counteract all of these concerns and make your experience of networking a much more satisfying and ultimately enjoyable for you.
Remember, as a published author, you have something unique to talk about and people will be interested in you – your opinions, your experiences and your future plans as a author.
Networking For Authors
But don’t just think as an author; think as a business.
Networking is about getting your message out there.
Use networking as a brand awareness tool for your expertise; let people find out more about you and engage in relationships. And that’s the key -- networking isn’t about selling -- it’s about building relationships.
People want get to know, like and trust you before they consider buying from you.
That’s why networking with your book gives people an opportunity to do just that in an easy, non-pushy way. Talk to people, listen to them – it can be hugely motivating and you may learn something along the way too.
The fact that you know you aren’t there to sell or to buy other people’s services unless you want to means that you can engage in easy conversation and look for ways to help rather than to sell.
And this is how you will be successful. Because finding ways to help others builds trust faster than trying to sell to them.
f course, all of this can lead to sales and income generation and that’s fantastic. People in the room may purchase the book from you, and they may go on to buy your other services and products. A book is a great way to introduce people.
What's success for you?
Before you go into those networking meetings, think about what you want from the meeting, and how you can best use your book. Your results will come from one of these five paths to success and, as a networking pro, you'll be able to promote your book and grow your business.
1. Raise your profile
You will raise the profile of your book and your business and become known as an expert in your field. This can also lead to invitations to speak and guest blog providing further ways for you to market your book.
You can find referral partners.
These are powerful relationships that help you grow your business. By developing a partnership with a business that provides services to a similar niche market as yours you can help each other by cross-referring.
For example, if you have written a book on nutrition then you might look to develop a referral partnership with a personal trainer. It's important to consider how you will work together and discuss any expectations there are on either side for commission or reward for referrals but you can learn all this as you go.
3. Build your brand
You can identify people who can help you build the brand of your book.
You may be a solopreneur, but working in collaboration with someone else gives the image of a larger brand for your company. If you've written a book on confidence, consider collaborating with an expert in recruitment to run workshops on confident interviewing techniques.
4. Sell your book
You can sell more copies of your book simply by using your book as your prop during your presentation to others in the room. Tell people about it, why you wrote it and what it offers -- perhaps you could even announce a special discount for others in the room that day.
And, of course, if you have repurposed the content of your book to create other income streams then you can promote the programmes you have developed from the content of your book to get more clients and grow your business.
5. A contact list
You can build a contact list from the others that are in the room, and look to keep in touch with them as your activity builds and your needs change.
Business Networking Tips
Networking offers you some great advantages. But, remember, in any promotional activity you undertake for your book, you need to make sure you are speaking to the right people at the right time.
Here are some tips that will make your networking even more successful.
1. Know your market
Identify your ideal reader and target market and choose the right network meeting for you.
2. Set a goal
Set your goal before you go.
Do you want to meet a potential referral partner or are you looking for a collaborator to run workshops with?
Do you want speaking engagements?
Decide beforehand. This will help you focus during the event.
3. Your book as a prop
Take your book along to the meeting and use it as your prop during any presentations to the group.
4. Business cards
Make sure you have your business cards with you.
Do your research. Ask the organiser for the list of attendees before the meeting. Check out their profiles on LinkedIn. You won’t be able to meet everyone so identify three key people whom you think will help you meet your goal.
6. Be helpful
Be helpful. Look for ways to support the people you meet. That could be by offering to send them a link to an article or a blog post that might help them. Or you might be able to refer them to someone in your own network.
Make sure you follow up and follow through on your promises after the meeting. A quick email to arrange a phone call is all it takes.
Whatever your experience of networking in the past, the right business networking events can offer you a unique opportunity to raise awareness of you and your book – and they can be a hugely rewarding experience too.
You never know who you may meet in a future networking meeting, so why not give it a try.
This post was written by Siobhan Costello. Siobhan is passionate about helping small business owners create bestselling products and services. As founder of The Bestseller Academy, Siobhan has developed a bespoke support programme for future and non-fiction authors, helping them to build a business from their book.