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Too Shy to Self Promote? Try These Networking Options

written by: Kristie Lorette•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 8/13/2011

If you are like a turtle when it comes to networking to promote your business, it is time to come out of your shell. While you may consider networking offline and face-to-face interactions, there are also plenty of ways you can effectively network on the Internet.

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    Discover online and offline ways to network and promote your business, even if you're shy. Photo by: singhajaykr25 Networking for your business can be a very intimidating and even a daunting task for some business owners, or even employees of companies. Networking for the introvert is even more of a problem than for those with more of an outgoing personality or who is clearly an extrovert. In an advanced technological world, many networking options have moved on to the Internet and online world. These options make networking options less intimidating, but are just as effective as face-to-face options. Even some face-to-face options exist that don’t require you to be the center of attention.

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    Affiliate Programs

    One of the fastest, easiest and most effective ways to extend the sales force of your business is to create an affiliate program. Typically, an affiliate program is an online program, but can also be implemented in an offline setting. An affiliate is someone who represents the products or services that your company sells. The affiliate uses their own marketing techniques to sell the products and services. For each of your products or services that your affiliates sell, you pay either a flat-rate fee or a percentage of the sale.

    Providing an affiliate program is a great method of networking for the introvert because you are attracting professionals and businesses that are related to your own by offering them an incentive in return.

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    Joint Ventures

    A joint venture too may be an online or offline effort. A joint venture occurs when two companies come together for a one-time venture. The two companies split everything 50/50, including any costs for setting up the program and any profits that are made from the effort.

    For example, a real estate agent and mortgage broker may join forces to host a mortgage modification seminar. Each party may invite attendees from their own lists. If they rent a ballroom or meeting room in a hotel and offer refreshments, each would split the costs. Any business that comes directly from the attendees, whether the real estate agent ends up selling a home to an attendee or the mortgage broker ends up doing the mortgage, any fees earned by the parties would be split 50/50.

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    Online Social Networking

    Networking on online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Googel Plus, and LinkedIn can help introverts to form professional relationships that you may never meet face-to-face or even speak to on the phone. Social networking allows you to build an online community of professionals that complement your business. For example, if you are professional business copywriter, you would want to connect with other professionals such as website designers, graphic designers, printers and even other writers that specialize in a different type of writing than you do.

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    Attend Professional Conferences

    Face-to-face networking opportunities often exist at professional conferences and trade shows that are related to your business or industry. One of the good parts about attending these types of events is that you start off as an observer, but then you tend to meet people who you can either do business with or refer business back and forth to each other.

    Attending these type of events not only allows you to network with other professionals, but also allows you to pick up techniques and information that help you to advance in your business. The key element to attending these type of events, and to ensuring your networking is as effective as possible, is to be prepared. Write out and memorize a short 20 second description of what you do at an angle that tells the listener how your business benefits the buyer of your products and services. Second, load up on business cards because you are apt to hand out dozens or even hundreds of business cards at one event, depending on how big of an event it is.

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    Like a Boy/Girl Scout: Be Prepared!

    Networking for the introvert may be easier than you think. The fact of the matter is that you may meet a prospective client, referral source, affiliate or joint venture partner anywhere and anytime. It could be the person sitting next to you on an airplane or someone you happen to strike up a conversation with in line at the grocery store or bank. The moral of the story is—always be prepared with your short introductory speech and business cards.

    While some people are social butterflies that intend to network themselves to death, other business owners and employees are more laid back. You do not have to be the life of the party or go door to door like a salesman to network and make new contacts for your business. Plenty of online and offline tactics exist that are effective, even for introverts.

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