For some people, networking can feel awkward or uncomfortable at times. After attending over 1,000 networking events, I’ve learned what works and (most importantly) what doesn’t. Below are some of the best practices I’ve collected along the way that may help you succeed with your networking efforts. You’d be surprised what happens to your network if you even implement a few of the tips below!
- Be Consistent
- Some of the best relationships develop over time (we’re talking years, in some cases). Being in and around business influencers consistently will open doors for you. Giving yourself the margin to spend time in these spaces will allow you the opportunity to develop relationships past surface-level.
- People do business with people they like
- Get to know them! Ask where they grew up, went to school, hobbies and family. Establishing a genuine connection with someone will make sure your relationships are lasting.
- Create a Win / Win.
- People that are in it solely for their own interests have limited success networking. Be open to helping others and care about their goals.
- Be an active listener.
- If you are an active listener people will trust you more, share more with you and be more willing to refer you to others. Part of being a good listener asking timely appropriate questions. Learn to listen with the intent of understanding more than simply replying.
- People like a good story.
- Don’t sell them – rather, tell them a story about yourself and how you can bring value to others by solving their problems.
- Ask for an introduction.
- If there is a certain someone that you are trying to get to know, ask your network if anyone knows them. A warm introduction is always easier and more effective than a cold call.
- Be consistent with your follow up
- A lot of success comes from following up after networking events. Your consistency will give others the confidence to refer you to others.
- Your Mindset
- Have the mindset that you are only a few people away from a wonderful opportunity!
Written by Chad Toms, Vice President of Sales & Strategic Accounts