Networking Made Easy
Ultimately, exchanging resources is what networking is all about. Those resources come in all shapes and sizes: support, information, products, and services. Somewhere in the mix, the goal is to have part of that exchange be someone’s eventual purchase of your services or products. Networking is making solid connections with people to the extent that you trust each other’s recommendations. And that does not happen in 90 seconds. That takes familiarity and some time and repeated contact with someone – in person or online.
People generally buy from people they trust or from people trusted by someone they know. That type of word-of-mouth marketing is the best! The more interconnected we are, the more channels we have for finding exactly what we need for our own businesses and for getting the word out about what we do.
One tip for networking events is to act as if you are the host. Do the things you would do at your own hosted event: Keep circulating. Approach people who are standing alone and ask them about themselves to get them to open up. Introduce people to each other. Keep your focus on making other people comfortable. Be sure to spend a little time with people you’ve met before to continue building those relationships. This keeps your genuine self shining through and that is what people are really drawn to.
Here’s some more networking tips:
1. Help others get what they need and want. Introduce and connect them with valuable resources you know.
2. Get really comfortable with your 30 or 60 second “elevator speech” or commercial. Make it about your benefits to others, not a boasting opportunity for you. The word “you” is more important than the word “I”. Practice it until it is natural.
3. Get good at talking about the value and benefits of your services. Share stories of how it has served others. Before and after stories paint the picture, too.
4. When you meet someone you find interesting at a networking event, follow up with an invitation for coffee or a meal. You will build your network one great person at a time. Find what you have in common to create rapport. You do want to talk about the benefits of hiring your company, however, find the best place in the conversation where it fits in comfortably. It’s best to share after you asked the other person about themselves and what they do for a living.
And the question I get often: Where to meet new people? Here’s some ideas:
Events they have at your former high school and college
Structured Networking Groups
Community Events (look in your local newspaper)
Classes and Workshops
Connect through Social Media such as LinkedIn and schedule to meet in person
Mostly, you want to get out and about in your community. Try a different store than the one you always go to. Hang out at the bookstore or places where people gather like Good Eatz.
The more people see you, the more they are willing to talk with you, and the more they trust you. That’s how you build a solid group of new relationships.