We are always looking out for more customers and networking is a way of finding the right people. We do need to remember that people do business with people they know, like and trust and unfortunately all of those take time. We cannot phone up and order trust. Instead, we have to invest time into building a relationship. Think of it as farming as opposed to hunting.
Tips for networking effectively.
- Do not see networking as a collection of names. Rather it is the beginning of a relationship that evolves.
- Do not dismiss people the moment you think they cannot help you. The person’s sister may be your ideal client.
- Make it about the other person, not rambling away about you who are and what you do.
- Do not see it as a challenge to hand your business card to as many people as possible at an event. At the end of the event they will have a piece of cardboard and no idea of who the person is whose name is on that cardboard.
- Who are you and what do you do? Can you answer that in two sentences? Would people understand what you are telling them? Can people hear what you are telling them? Many people mumble when they are out networking.
- Networking is for introverts too – yes it is. Introverts can be confident and worth meeting and at the end of your event, they can retreat in order to refuel.
- Networking layers – do not expect people to remember you after one brief meeting. It takes time for them to remember your name and to associate you with what you do. It takes even longer for your name to be top of mind when they are looking for someone who happens to do what you do. Remember farming – you have to nurture your network.
- Protect your network by not referring anyone to them or them to anyone who does not uphold your standards. You are looking for someone to fix a garage door and I refer you to a character who does a terrible job. What happens to our relationship as a result?
Networking can be fun and effective if you are prepared, make it about the other person and follow up.
See you out there.
submitted by Colleen Qvist (Master Coach)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author.