Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, the same principle holds true, networking is extremely important in furthering your career. If you want to position yourself as the acupuncture authority, and have your practice to stand out among the rest, it is imperative you network.
Unfortunately, there are some common mistakes individuals make when trying to leverage networking. It isn’t easy to network, so it is reasonable to see why these mistakes occur. After all, it can be challenging to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Remember, understanding why you are making the mistake is the first step in correcting it.
Let’s look at the 5 ways you could be losing networking opportunities.
1. You’re Unprepared
This tends to happen to a lot of practitioners, they approach networking opportunities unprepared. If you aren’t prepared for the networking event, of course nothing good will come out of it. You need to make sure you are clear-headed, and both physically and mentally prepared for the event you are about to attend.
Don’t stumble over your answers to questions, speak confidently and demonstrate your vast knowledge on acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Networking opportunities are the perfect time to perfect your elevator speech. When asked “What do you do?”, you should have a short, succinct explanation. Make sure you address these 5 key areas:
- What you do and how you can help their clients?
- What your specialty is?
- What makes you different from other acupuncturists?
- Where you are located?
- What the next steps should be for them to refer people to you?
- Do you want people to come try your services?
- Or, do you have another call to action, perhaps a free 20 minute consultation?
2. You Don’t Attend the Events
It’s self-explanatory, but obviously if you don’t have the courage to go out and attend networking events there isn’t a way for you to reap the potential benefits. Push yourself. And as stated, don’t be afraid to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
If you make the move to get outside and attend the events you will be surprised at the results you achieve.
Being an acupuncturist is akin to being an entrepreneur. And as an entrepreneur, you have to wear two hats - your business-person hat and your healer hat. The two are inseparable. And because that is the case, you will need to find out what your marketing superpower is, so you feel comfortable attending more networking events.
Ask yourself these questions, and you’ll begin to uncover which marketing superpower gives you the courage to go out there and share the message of good health through acupuncture
- What channels of marketing do you use now that are easy for you?
- What channels of marketing are the most challenging (Social Media, Local Ads, Networking, etc.)?
- Which ones have given you the greatest return on your investment?
3. It’s Not All About You
The first step is to get to the networking opportunity, but the second is to realize everyone else in the room is there for the same reasons you are. Everyone wants to be heard. Being a good listener can go a long way at networking events.
If you listen just as much as you speak, you are likely to forge successful long-lasting business relationships with the individuals you meet.
Prepare for your networking events by having a few questions ready. Open-ended questions are better for these types of events. After you ask a person a question, you can sit back and let the other person talk on their subject. A few well considered questions will keep you busy for as long as you intend to be at the event.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What got you started as a [what is their profession]?
- What has been the most challenging case you have worked with?
- What has helped you attract and retain new clients / patients?
- What is the best way to refer clients and patients to you?
4. You Lack Tangible Materials
It’s always great to bring physical materials to networking events. It’s always great to bring physical materials to networking events.
Give people something they can physically touch and hold: such as a flyer, or business card. If you arrive prepared with these items you will stand out compared to those are do not.
Here are more examples of what to take with you to you networking event:
- Business cards
- Call-to-action cards
- Gift certificates
- Articles about you/your clinic (if pertinent)
5. You Aren’t Giving Out Referrals
It’s the reason everyone is there in the first place. Referrals are important. People you meet at networking events are looking to receive and give referrals in exchange. Make sure you arrive prepared with a list of potential referrals for the people you meet at your next networking opportunity.
It is best to always ask another professional how you can refer patients to them, and what types of cases they like to work with. This opens the door to receptivity and connects you and your new referral partner more deeply, by building trust and showing them that you are willing to take the first steps in sending clients their way first.
Avoid these 5 common networking mistakes and you will find yourself forging more successful relationships, receiving more referrals and bringing in more patients!
We’ll Talk Soon,
Jeffrey Grossman, EAMP
“Being prepared at networking events will often result in more referrals”