Make Networking Work for You
Most people have no clue how to network effectively. They attend the wrong meetings, ask useless questions, give a boring introduction and never tell you what you really need to know in order to help them. They are the last to arrive and the first to leave and rush to the next networking meeting.
Why do they even bother to show up in the first place?
Does this sound familiar? It certainly did for me when I first start networking for my business. Instead of doing my due diligence and choosing groups where my target audience and strategic partners were, I hopped around from one group to another getting little or no results.
I was frustrated! Networking was no longer fun and seemed to be a waste of my time and energy. Collecting business cards and having coffee just wasn’t working… something needed to change.
I made the decision to start being more strategic and become a master networker and so can you. By implementing a few of the following tips you can turn your networking into a powerful relationship building tool.
Tips for Becoming a Master at Networking
- Be prepared and know what you want before you get there. Know who your ideal prospects are and be able to recognize and attract them.
- Be able to clearly communicate who you serve, what problems you solve, and the benefits of working with you. The easiest way to do this is to share a story of a client you have helped.
- Find the right groups that have your ideal audience or serve your ideal audience.
- Asking better questions leads to better conversations. Refrain from the boring “So, what do you do?” and replace it with “Who do you serve?” instead. This will, at the very least, let you know if you both serve the same audience and will help you to know where to go next.
- Once you know who they serve, make an introduction or share a resource that may benefit them.
- Attend with a serve not sell attitude. Relationships are the currency in today’s business environment so take the time to continue the conversation and focus on building a relationship. Don’t try to sell every time you speak.
- Maximize your networking ROI by making sure you have a follow up strategy in place. Don’t get so busy collecting business cards that you forget to stay in touch with the new connections you have made. Connecting on social media is a great first step follow up strategy.
“Strive to become a people connector, not a business card collector” ~ @PattyFarmer
When you take the time to create a strategy and a focus to your networking and strive to be a connector instead of a collector, you will increase your networking ROI.
What is your favorite networking strategy? Share it with us – We would love to hear it!