Many business owners find that all they seem to do when networking is spend time having conversations, which whilst enjoyable at the time, don’t seem to lead anywhere. Many find that they get very little return on their often substantial investment of time and money in networking.
- Have a purpose for networking
Try and find out all you can about the event and the people who will be attending and the topics to talk about. Are these the type of people your business needs you to meet?
- A good first impression enables you to start and build a mutually beneficial relationship. First impressions matter and these day before someone actually meets you, they will normally have already formed a first impression of you by looking at your online footprint. A Google search, and your LinkedIn profile, facebook, etc.
- A great way of making your networking more efficient is NOT to go prospecting for clients. Go looking for advocates and referrers for your business. Someone who regularly recommends you and your business to their client’s and customers is 100 times more valuable than one client or customer who may or may not recommend you to their friends.
- Turn social conversations into business chat: Before you start talking business, take your time to get to know the person first and generate some rapport. When networking you are not there to sell, you are there to build relationships. It’s from these relationships that opportunities and business will flow.
- Forget about you and your needs. Focus 80% of your energy on listening and finding out about the other person. When you are networking online, try to include questions which encourage people to comment and join in the conversation.
- After meeting new people, decide on how important they are to you.
- Follow up by: (1) Send them a note after meeting them; (2) Connect with them on social networking sites; (3) Arrange to meet if practical.
“NETWORK YOUR FACE OFF! …You never know what you will get from a meeting! “