Having attended Niche Affiliate Marketing System (NAMS) a few short weeks ago, I can tell you that networking is very important for having a profitable business. Let’s face it, it’s hard to make money without having good relationships with other people and businesses. This will help you benefit from each other’s customers even though many people have the mistaken idea that you shouldn’t do business with your competitors. I firmly believe that there are more than enough customers and clients to go around.

That being said, it is true that some amount of competition is necessary and you are unlikely to achieve your full potential without joint venture partners. And the only way to get them is to network.

However, networking isn’t just for getting JV partners or other contacts. You need it to get clients and customers as well. The reason social networking sites are so effective for businesses is that they enable businesses to connect with their customers much more easily.

So how do you find new clients, customers, and joint venture partners through networking? First, here are two tips to help you use networking to get more clients and customers:

Bob “The Teacher” Jenkins at NAMS4 in Atlanta, GA
August 2010

#1 Show you care

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – John C. Maxwell. The businesses that make money are those that provide a valuable service. Get-rich-quick schemes don’t work because the focus is on making money, and not helping others.

When you really want to help others, money is usually the inevitable result. People can immediately tell the difference between somebody who is just in it for the profit and somebody who wants to make a difference.

#2 Give free advice

This is one of the best ways to show you care and, at the same time, generate interest in your product. Oftentimes, the more free information you provide, the more you will sell of your product. Some of the most successful product launches have been done by giving away lots of free advice.

This might seem counter-intuitive. After all, shouldn’t you save your best information for the product? While it is true you can’t give everything away, you need to provide a lot of good information.

This is how people decide whether to buy from you or not. If your free information isn’t that good, they will assume your paid information must not be great either. One other thing, and I’ve seen this happen over and over throughout the years, you may be tempted to put a “value” on your free special report. For example, you post that your free report is worth $27 but in reality it may be worth $7. You may run the risk of a potential customer thinking your information isn’t worth the price. I would either not post what you believe is the perceived value or come up with the value and cut that number in half.

Where should you give free advice?

There are many places online you can become active. Forums, blogs, and social media sites are great examples of social networking sites where you can give away lots of free information. Don’t just look for a one-way link. Instead, genuinely aim to contribute value to the site, without seeking any benefit in return.

So the above two tips involve networking for finding clients and customers. However, what if your aim is to find JV partners? Here are two tips to help you achieve that:

#3 Explain benefits

You want to clearly demonstrate how you can benefit the other business owner. If you come across as needy, and that you need them more than they need you, you won’t be very successful finding JV partners.

Instead, explain why they would benefit from doing business with you. For instance, if you have a list of fifty thousand customers eager to buy, say that! Always put your best foot forward.

#4 Get offline!

While the internet is a great way to meet potential JV partners, offline offers a lot of opportunity as well. And many internet marketers ignore it because they are so focused on the internet.

Attend seminars and join organizations and associations related to you business. Here you will meet potential JV partners while learning at the same time. One of the best events that I have attended this year was Niche Affiliate Marketing System (NAMS). Even if you aren’t an affiliate marketer, it was a fantastic place to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, get ideas for your online business, and put faces to names. I’ve already purchased my ticket to the next event being held end of January in Atlanta.

The bottom line is, networking is crucial. Implement these tips and I hope your relationships, joint ventures, and profits increase dramatically!