Most entrepreneurs, and especially those starting a business, know that in order to get your product and service out in front of others, that networking is necessary. Yet, how many times have you dreaded going to yet another networking event because you felt they are simply a waste of time.
You “meet” a lot of people, gather a lot of cards, but walk away without any prospects for business.
Here are 7 Essential Tips to Make Networking Effective
1. Be Interested vs. Interesting
Have you ever felt the person you were sharing the amazing product or service of your business at a networking event was looking for an escape route to get away? Making business connections is important, but you have to start in neutral – not like a NASCAR driver on race day.
The key is to be INTERESTED first! Ask a few questions about them to build rapport – How did they get in to their line of work? What is their favorite aspect of their business? What do they do when they aren’t working? The rest will follow naturally and they will ask you the same questions in return.
2. Don’t Sell Your Product Before You Sell You!
Sales today are based on relationships and building trust. There are probably lots of people who sell exactly what you do. Why should they do business with you?
Customers will become referral partners for life if you take the time to build a relationship with them. It is much easier to do business with someone you have been referred to, so invest in YOU first! Make yourself known for helping others.
3. Connecting through Authenticity
Your genuine self should always show up. People can tell if you aren’t being genuine about them or their product. Your reputations remains long after you leave a meeting!
4. The Most Important Question You Can Ask!
How Can I Help YOU Succeed?
Letting them know you are willing to help them with their success speaks volumes in business!
Ask them to share with you what to say, listen for or look for if you are speaking to someone that could be beneficial to their business.
5. Let Go of Attachments (this one might surprise you!)
Are you focused on the person in front of you or on the phone or digital device in your hand? Nothing says I don’t care more than putting your electronics before a human experience.
Our phones and tablets have become extensions of ourselves. We live in an electronic age and many of us would be lost without our calendars, notes, reminders, social media, etc. They also can be useful in a business environment to set appointments, look up an important fact or website, or even make a presentation with.
But… they also can be a huge turnoff if not used appropriately as well.
6. How to Get Them to Ask You a Key Question
Is there something you really want your networking partner to know about you?
Ask them the same question first!!!
Most of the time if you ask someone a question you want to share yourself, after they finish sharing with you, they naturally will ask the question back to you in return!
7. Follow Up is Key
Now that you have made some new connections, the most important next step remains — following up! Here is a key tip
Send a note through the mail. We are all bombarded with emails daily and yes, they are a great form of communication. But a mailed card says something special. Let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and inquire how their business is doing.
The more you invest in building relationships, the more you will see the success and profit from your endeavors!