Massage & Bodywork

May | June 2014

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1. BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS Building a professional network of like-minded colleagues can be just as important to your practice as building a stable of loyal clients. Professional contacts can be valuable sources of information, new ideas, and referrals. Be intentional about reaching out within your various communities to form mutually beneficial relationships. 2. NETWORKING EVENTS One great way to meet these valuable professional contacts is to attend networking events. Your local chamber of commerce is a good starting point. Even better may be the Holistic Chamber of Commerce (www.holisticchamberofcommerce.com), which has chapters in nearly 50 cities. The chamber's website lists upcoming events. "Make those face-to-face connections," urges Kristin Coverly, ABMP's manager of professional development. "It's a great way to meet people and also to get more knowledge about who they are and what they do." 3. MEETUP.COM Another popular networking hub is Meetup (www.meetup.com), which draws individuals together online to arrange in-person local events based on their topic of interest. At last count, more than 140,000 Meetup groups garner more than 2 million RSVPs to their events every month. But Abram Herman, social media and marketing coordinator for ABMP, urges caution when searching for relevant groups. "Some of the massage groups on Meetup are for more illicit services," he says. "Not all are legitimate." 4. OTHER NETWORKING GROUPS A career-centered networking group limits the number and kinds of professionals who are allowed to join and might include massage therapists, physicians, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and other health-care professionals. "The idea is that you get together regularly and let them know what you offer, where your offices are, and what kind of clients you're looking for," Coverly says. "The goal is to help each other out." Again, your local chamber of commerce can help you find these groups, or you can do an Internet search for "networking groups" in your area. TEN FOR TODAY Networking Make Business Relationships Work for You By Rebecca Jones 5. ETIQUETTE Once you arrive at a networking event, don't be a wallflower. But don't go to the other extreme and become a fanatic who just hands out business cards willy-nilly. "No one will want to see you walk in a room if you do that," advises business coach Tina Dietz, founder of Tina Dietz Business Development (www.thisistinadietz.com). "You need 'permission marketing.' After you've had a conversation with people, if they haven't asked for your business card, ask for theirs. Then, ask if you can give them yours," she says. 6. NETWORKING TIPS Here are a few other tips from Dietz on making the most of your networking: • If you don't know what to say when meeting new contacts, ask them about themselves. Focus on them and what matters to them. • Follow up the next day with a phone call, or invite a new contact out for a cup of coffee. • Avoid jargon. It's fine to say, "I'm a massage therapist"; better to say, "I'm a massage therapist, and I specialize in pain management"; but saying, "I'm a musculoskeletal fibromyalgia specialist" will be confusing and meaningless to most people. • Be careful of your time. Some people only want to sell you something and aren't interested in developing a mutually beneficial relationship. Avoid them and avoid being one of them. I t p a y s t o b e A B M P C e r t i f i e d : w w w. a b m p . c o m / g o / c e r t i f i e d c e n t r a l 23

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