Top tips for networking
Networking is all about giving and nurturing relationships. It’s about creating the “know, like and trust” environment. Here are some tips you can use to enhance your networking experience for yourself and the other business professionals you meet.
- Never judge a book by its cover
The least likely person in the room could turn out to be your very best contact ever. You never know who or what other people know – they may be able to give you an amazing referral, some knowledge or much needed support through a tricky time.
- Stop selling, start listening
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. If you take the time to find out about the other person and show a genuine interest in their business and how you can help them, they are more likely to do the same for you.
- Think out of the box
Always look for connections that aren’t the most obvious ones, both for yourself and for others. Strategic alliances are super powerful and a great way to grow and diversify your business.
- Give genuine recommendations
Never wait to be asked to provide a testimonial from a fellow networker. If you have used their services, send them a written or video recommendation which can be great word of mouth marketing for them.
- Take time to get to know other networkers
To fully utilise the power of networking you must spend time learning about what others do. Make sure to attend at least 2 121s per month in between your monthly lunch meetings.
- Perfect the art of the monthly minute
Plan your minutes in advance, write them, edit them, practice reading them out loud with a timer. Your pitch should be concise, interesting and always, always include a call-to-action. Make it more memorable by using a poem, a prop or even singing.
- Be organised
Have a system for managing your networking meetings, business cards and other promotional material and networking notes. Keeping track of everything helps to save time when you need to reference something later on.
- Spread your wings
Take opportunities whenever you can to visit other networking groups where you aren’t locked out. You never know who you might meet that could be a useful contact for you or others in your home group.
- Ask great questions
When you have 121s with other networkers, do your homework. Look at their LinkedIn profile, website and social media to find out a little bit about them so you can ask intelligent questions enabling you to get to know them better. If you have spent a few minutes preparing, it will show and that makes the other person feel important.
- Enjoy your networking
Networking should be fun as well as lead to more business. When you can, take advantage of social opportunities as these also help to cement relationships within the group.
Michelle Eshkeri is a marketing consultant and copywriter at www.letmewrite.co.uk