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Business Networking - The Three Foot Rule

Perhaps one of the most effective ways of marketing your business is through networking. Networking, which involves telling people you know about your services or business in hopes they will utilize them or pass the word about your services along, is crucial to business success. They say the average person knows about 500 people - imagine the marketing potential if you could reach not only those 500, but beyond that.

If you're looking for a creative way to market your business through networking, you just need to look around you - literally. Your potential customers and clients could be just three feet away if you practice the Three Foot Rule of marketing.

What is the Three Foot Rule?
Quite simply, the Three Foot Rule states that whenever you're within three feet of someone, you should talk to them about your business and the services you provide. This may sound intimidating or brazen to some people, but being able to network is a quality that will help your business thrive.

Putting the Three Foot Rule to Work
If the idea of approaching anyone within three feet of you sounds daunting, the following are a few tips that can make it easier to network, whether they're three feet away from you or on the phone:
? Practice your small talk. Because no one is going to listen to you if you approach them and say, "Hey, want to hear about my business?" it's a good idea to master the art of small talk. Consider having some default topics in mind, or be prepared to comment on the situation; for example, if you're standing in line at the grocery store, you can say something like, "It's busy today, isn't it?" Certain topics are usually considered safe bets, such as the weather, sports, or current events. In addition, complimenting someone is usually a great ice breaker.
? Make being friendly a habit. Practice talking to people for a week or so without talking about business. That way, when you're ready to start marketing your business, you will already be used to talking to strangers.
? Have a 30-second commercial prepared. This should be a quick spiel about your business. If you already know what you're going to say, it takes the pressure off talking about your business to other people. Talk about main services and products, and offer your business card to the person you speak to.
? Be a good listener. Making eye contact, nodding at the appropriate times, and not interrupting are all traits of a courteous listener. It's important to listen to the other person, as you can tailor your business approach around what they are talking about or some concerns they've mentioned. By showing that you are listening and that you care, the person is more apt to be receptive to your commercial.
? Have a business card. Business cards are essential to marketing and networking. Always hand your business card to people you encounter when practicing the Three Foot Rule.
? Go to areas where the people will be likely to use your services. If you are starting a dog obedience school, for example, talk to the people in a dog park, the vet's office, or while shopping for your pet.

Networking is an essential part of business, and the Three Foot Rule is a great way to expand your customer base and get the word about your business out.

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