Networking should be at the top of your list of things to do consistently. View networking as an opportunity to not only help yourself, but to also help others.
Networking essentially requires you to put your name out into a web of previously unmade contacts. Try to form business-marketing alliances that emphasize mutual referral systems, cross advertising and sales opportunities. Seek to network with complementary and supporting businesses. For example, as a massage therapist, you may want to make contact with such complementary businesses as hair salons, resorts and doctors’ offices.
In addition to business-contact networking, you can also use networking skills as a way to receive free education. Ask yourself, “Who can I ask to mentor me?” Seek hundreds of mentors, not just one. Pick a brain, and ask, “What is your favorite marketing technique?”
Do not limit yourself to simply networking in person, but be sure to utilize the vast network on the Internet. Remember the acronym for T.E.A.M.—”together everyone achieves more.”
Attend networking events that offer door prizes. Give a handful of 30-minute massage session gift certificates as door prizes at various events. Add this to the gift certificate: “This certificate entitles you to a 30-minute massage therapy session with an opportunity to upgrade to include an additional hour for only $40 (normally $70).”
Join organizations in which you have an interest and which might produce clients. In other words, target your market, do what you love and draw people to you.
Ariana Vincent, L.M.T., M.T.I., N.C.T.M.B., is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor and workshop leader based in Austin, Texas. Learn more about her at www.arianavincent.com.