When you think about networking, the heavy exchange of business cards might come to mind, but there’s so much more to it than that. Being effective at networking is crucial to your business success. Regardless of what product or service you provide, you’ll need to sell yourself first.
Building trust relationships with strangers is an important skill to develop. When you meet potential clients, first seek to be more interested than interesting. If you figure out how to be helpful to a new contact — people will help you and your business grow. In the digital age it’s easier than ever to stay connected to new people. You just need to know how to get the most of our your networking.
How to Become a Better Networker
1. Be Interested
Networking with someone new is much more than just handing out your business card and moving on to the next person. You need to take a moment more to get to know them a little better and let them get to know you, too. Talk about them first, then if asked discuss what your business does and how your solve problems. Business cards get lost and mixed together, but first impressions last a lifetime. Get them something to remember you with.
2. Prioritize at Your Events
Only focus on making five key contacts at any networking event. While you might want to meet everyone there, but you won’t have the time to maintain all of that communication. You need to move through the room, and meet some great people and call it a night. You should have a target list, but don’t worry about who is likeliest to call you for your product, service just focus on making new friends. You never know who they could refer you too.
3. Ask for Recommendations
Ask for a warm introductions from satisfied customers, current clients, personal friends and mentors. They can be your best sources for recommendations. Ask this group of people to pass your name and information along should they find someone who may benefit from your help. Just remember that once a friend-of-a-friend gets in touch with you, be sure to give your new prospect the positive experience he or she is expecting, otherwise you could lose two relationships.
To make networking work, you have to keep in touch with people. No one likes to only be contacted when something is needed of them. If you are professionally networking you need to cultivate your new contact to build trust.
Once you meet someone, you should follow within five days. Then they should here from you again within 60 days to schedule a follow-up lunch or coffee. To keep yourself top of mine you can It’s a good idea to connect on LinkedIn Twitter or Instagram to keep yourself in their sights. Even if you don’t speak often sharing their content online can build relationships. If you neglect new contacts your networking efforts will be in vain.
It can take a while to build up a solid, reliable network , but don’t get discouraged. Meeting new people and building your network will become second nature to you. And with a little patience, you will create a lead engine for your business.
Republished by permission. Original here.
Business Card Photo via Shutterstock
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I really liked 2. Prioritize at Your Events. At the start my goal was to just speak to as many people as possible. But now my strategy is very different. I want to build real relationships that have meaning and depth, which can take time. Instead of lots of shallow ones.
A year ago I read a quote that said… “Don’t Rush The Things That Need Time to Grow”.
It made me look at how I was operating and I saw things differently.
I’ve just been checking out Succeed As Your Own Boss and I love it!
I agree. I think that it is very important to talk to the the right target rather than aiming for a quantity. Good point.
Explanatory, detailed and educative. What a great combination of advice and instructions. I think consistency and patience will improve the networking potentials and skills of a would professional networker and contact manager. Thanks for your sharing your thoughts.
Asking for recommendations can feel pushy but is a really good way to generate new business.
It is also a must to aim to look for a new contact each event. Make the most out of it. Talk with people and get to know them. It doesn’t matter. As long as you connect with someone new.
I think that networking shouldn’t be done as a one-time thing. It is more like winning a friend. The friendship must be nurtured with continuous networking.
It is nice to already have some cards ready for your networking and to know where to go even before you go to the event.
I think that it is important to become interested in other people’s stories and learn to go with the flow. Become really interested in their stories and don’t overthink.
Great article! Social Media networking through Facebook community groups has become a huge part of networking efforts and increased referrals!