Four Steps to Finding an Effective Networking
Networking has been around for a long time and for those who do well it attracts new business contacts, referrals, and close friendships.
Now, what can you do to become a more effective networker?
Choose an organization that will give you the best opportunities. Most are non-profit and maybe business or community based as local commercial and Rotary units. To confirm your decision visit a few activities as a guest. Most will allow you to do this free of charge. Learn what their goals are; the number of members; whether they are a growing or stagnant organization; What do they look for in new members and how can you contribute to the organization if you choose to do so? You could do this with a number of organizations to improve your network portfolio.
Your regular presence is essential to building a trusting relationship and ultimately attracting high-quality contacts, referrals, and new businesses.
If you feel comfortable with the culture and vision of the organization and want to be more involved there are roles available where you can help and add value. This may result in your public profile exposure to membership.
Most jobs can be after hours so make sure you appear new after a day’s work. If time and circumstances permit, wash and iron. When you are not there make sure you look professional and show good energy even if you feel tired. Keep with you a lot of business cards. Set realistic and attainable goals.
When you walk into a room make sure you smile. The name tag will be provided extensively so either attach it to your right shoulder. The reason for this is that when you come to shake hands with someone your name will be automatically pushed forward making it easier for someone else to learn.
When approaching a group, be patient and wait for a break from the conversation. Introduce yourself and your company name and give your recipients a business card. They will probably ask about you / your company so give your cash statement and pause. You will be asked questions so answer this briefly and ask one of the team members about you and their company. Keep in touch with each person this way. This will ensure that you keep them engaged.
Once the discussion has reached a natural conclusion, politely apologize and move on to the next group and do the same.
Never rush. Ask more questions than you were asked to learn about each person and build relationships so that at any future time you can continue where you left off.
Post the event
Within 24 hours of work send an email thanking each person, mentioning part of the conversation you had, and letting them know you are looking forward to seeing them next time. If they have asked for more information about your product/service, send it, and be careful to keep track of the phone.
Post-network activity is often misdiagnosed. Whether there is an opportunity to do business or not in the future does not matter always send a post-event email. Your concern and expertise will be evident.
Communication can be very exciting and productive, build lasting business relationships, and create new marketing opportunities. This is because as long as you attend events regularly and follow these simple guidelines.