Networking is not joining groups and sites solely to advertise to a group of people then wait for the sales to come in. It is connecting and utilizing your resources to build and shape your business. This can be a simple exchange of leads and referrals as well as the exchange of information between each other.
To network you must interact beyond just giving out your information. Talk to others. Build trust and be visible. This is not the time to sell a product/service. This is the time to build connections. This is your time to stand out. You certainly cannot be memorable if you are quiet and behind the scenes.
You likely network now without realizing that is what you are doing. You probably network frequently in your personal life and don't even know it. How many times have you asked a family member if they know someone who can fix your car, get boxes so you can move, know a good restaurant to eat at? This is networking. If you can do it for your personal life, you can do it for your business.
Utilize what other WAHMs have available to you. Need professional business cards? Utilize fellow WAHM Kris with WAHM Promo by Designer Wrappers. Holding a party and need refreshments? Who do you know that sells food products? Need a cute and practical thank you gift? Use a fellow WAHM who hand pours candles such as LunaWolfs Mystical Essence.
When you network you are building connections that will generate opportunities to make money. You do this with the exchange of information. The best way is to connect with your fellow WAHMs since you are all WAHMs yourself. Find a message board related to networking such as http://livswahmblog.proboards.com/index.cgi and your target market. You can branch out but start where you know. Network in other areas of your niche. You don't want
Have a clear understanding of what you do (type of business), why you do it(what you like about your business), for whom you do it (company), and what makes what you do special and unique from what others are doing in the same field. To get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily explain to others. If you don't understand why you do what you do, others will not either and they will not refer others to you.
Follow through in a timely manner on all referrals given to you. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection upon them. If you make them look bad by being an unreliable referral, you can bet you will not receive referrals from that person again no matter how many times you refer to them. Respect and honor that relationship and your referrals will continue to flow in. Don't burn bridges you are trying to build.
When you meet others to network with, get a name, company, website, email. Know who offers what products and service and keep a list. Keep a box of index cards and whenever possible a couple business cards for that person. You never know when someones product/service will come in handy. Use this list to refer others to a WAHM as well. Just because you can't sell it to a customer does not mean you can't refer them. This is part of the customer relationship you should be building with every customer you have. They have a need, you fulfill it even if that means you have no options within your own products. This alone can give your customer the relief they are not just a source of $$$ but you want to help them. This relationships makes a customer loyal and loyal customers are return customers.
Be polite when contacting referrals and you network with. Watch your language. The use of curse words is an instant turn off. Avoid big words. Avoid company jargon. You need to keep it simple, confident, short, sweet, and to the point. Let others talk and ask questions. If you talk about nothing but yourself, you come off self centered and not worthy of connecting with. First impressions are lasting impressions. Don't let others think low of you because of your choice of words and tone.
Networking is a skill you want to learn and master. It does not come overnight. Only repetition, watching, and learning will accomplish this. This is a skill that will last a lifetime and certainly beneficial in every way.