Secrets to successful networking
Most people think they know how to network. This method is common practice-
Find a gathering of people and meet as many as possible. Make the rounds with business cards in hand in search of new relationships that could lead to sales, jobs, partnerships or introductions.
However- this approach rarely works and when networking in this manner, this can actually do you and your business damage. If everyone attends an event to sell, then no one is buying. It’s never about selling to the people there.
So what is the secret to being a great networker? People want to do business with people they have to got to know, they like and they trust so read on to find how you can build this. Here are my top tips and ones that I have found actually work!
- The Goal – Help Others
- Who can you help who you know through networking?
- What support and value can you add to someone else?
- Who do you know who might need someone’s services?
- Manage your time
- Don’t over network. Do your research, visit groups and decide if they have the right vibe and the right tribe for you! Then attend regularly! Once is never enough!
- Arrange 121’s in the same place on the same day – around 3 per – allow 1-hour slots. No more than twice a month-you have a business to run.
- Build quality relationships
It’s not about numbers, collecting masses of cards it’s about the quality of the relationships you build.
Engage with the people you have met and really get to know them. Don’t keep going to lots of events meetings lots of people – the way forward is to deepen the relationships with the people you have already met and work on how you can support each other.
Follow up by meeting for a coffee- people will NEVER remember who you are, what you do and how you can help from one networking event.
4.Follow Up Follow Up Follow Up
Follow up everyone in some way from every event.
- Are there 2 people you know who would make a good contact for each other?
- Who do you know who could use the services of someone you know?
- Could you use the services of someone you know?
- Could you offer advice and support to someone you know?
- Follow on social media, share a post
- What information can you share with someone that could help them-links to an article or website, details of a trade association, courses, workshops, journalist contacts- the list is endless!
5.Don’t promote – problem solve.
When talking to people don’t promote your business, talk about the problems and issues you solve. Tell people how you can help them and the people they know. Also build this into your 1 min pitches.
6. Listen and Learn
- Learn to really listen to what people are saying and learn about them and their business. Good listeners make good networkers.
- Make notes and remember vital facts about people.
7. Thank people!
If someone does anything to help you thank them, via email, a card, flowers and you can also publicly thank them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. What medium you use is for you to decide-but always remember people who have supported you.
8. Manage your contacts- Have a process for following up
- Use a database, spreadsheet, your phone, card file, CRM system ( e.g. Capsule free for up to 250 contact or £8 a month) or whatever works for you. But develop a system and use it. You will be glad you did when someone asks, ‘Do you know someone who’…. Or when you need something.
- Do not send spam emails- NEVER add people to your database without asking.
9. Social Media – What is your contact currency?
- How many people are you connected to? Work this out – add up FB likes, Followers on Instagram & Twitter, LinkedIn contacts and email lists.
FB Business Page Likes =
Followers on Instagram =
Followers on Twitter =
LinkedIn Contacts =
Email Subscribers =
- Then work out your potential reach- how many people are in the groups you are in?
How many FB groups =
Total up number of people in each one=
This makes you start to consider how effective using social media can be with your face to face networking.
- Who has a high level of connections you are friends with or connected to on Social Media.
- Name them here! These are people you really need to know!
Help others on social media Make sure you comment, share and promote your fellow networkers-that is massively helpful as it really does help spread the word about someone’s business and they will do this for you.
10. Top Networking Actions
- Always prepare a fresh well thought out 1 min every month, focussing clearly on what connections you want and what services you are promoting
- Follow Up
- Have good clear literature and website
- Create some talks and offer to speak at events – this is a great profile raiser
- Never discount anyone – you don’t know who you don’t know and you don’t know who they know
- Always do what you say you will do
- Turn up early and always allow time at the end of the events to stay and chat
If you do not enjoy an event you go to – STOP! Because not every event is right for everyone. There is no point in attending something you hate-life is too short!
Membership VS Non-Membership
If you like the event and think you will get a return on your membership investment, then go for it. Make sure you understand the commitments and what is included for the membership.
Professional Lock out vs Open
I think this can reduce your network however it can work depending on what you do, talk to the other members in the group before you make a final decision.