Networking & Why You Should Do It
The business of being a hypnotherapy practitioner can be a lonely one – you’re unlikely to be working in a big team of people, regularly going out on the road or attending international conferences a great deal. Whilst your personal life may still be full of the people you know and love (mostly!) your business life can feel a bit empty.
You can always turn to friends and relatives for advice about aspects of running a business and looking after your clients, but who do you talk to about hypnotherapy? How do you find other people like you, running their own businesses?
Networks, networking groups, and associations are a very popular way for like-minded professionals to meet up on a regular basis. Some are strictly referral networks, where members must refer a certain number of customers to other members every month, others are much more socially oriented, where like-minded professionals get together, maybe over some food and drink, and talk shop. Some groups are based around industries and sectors, whilst others are regional and local groups for all kinds of business.
Fire up your Internet browser now, and you’ll be able to make a list of at least five, if not ten or twenty groups from The Rotary Club to informal rambling groups you could join. I’m not suggesting you immediately go out and join ten networking groups, but it is certainly worth finding one where you might feel at home and where you might be able to win more business, meet similar people in different businesses or different people in the same business.
Building a network in a group dedicated to this purpose is definitely easier than trying to do it yourself, but be aware some groups exist simply to scalp a monthly fee and impose unrealistic or implausible targets on members for referrals and bringing in new members. You should be able to attend as a guest at least twice to get the measure of a group, and see whether it's for you. Although there’s certain to be food and refreshments on offer, don’t be too tempted to just chat. A network group meeting represents a significant investment in time that could be spent with clients, so it’s up to you to make the most of it.
Make sure you have a good supply of business cards. You need to go to your networking group with a clear goal of obtaining more business and you need to explore this with every other member of the group. Some members will be useless to you and you to them, but you need to positively rule them out first. Look for people who work in allied and ancillary trades and businesses, personal trainers, life coaches, flying schools, weight loss supplements etc. Think about your hypnotherapy specialism and who it appeals to most. What other services do these clients use? With some persistence and imagination, you can find the group that suits you best and fits your needs.