If done right networking can act as a customer magnet for your business. Through networking, you can promote your business by helping contacts, make connections with potential business partners as well as find new clients. It also provides you with skills for effective communication that every businessperson needs. |
How Networking Can Help Your Business
Effective networking involves more than passing out as many business cards as possible at as many events as you can attend. Successful networking is about creating meaningful and lasting connections and relationships with others. How does this benefit your business?
For a start up business on a tight budget, networking is a great approach for generating exposure. One meaningful connection with the right person can provide a direct link to a room full of industry influences. Getting to know different people in the room can help you determine if any have a need for your services or the skills of others in your contact sphere. The interaction also helps you improve your communication skills.
Growing Your Contacts and Influence
Networking may be time-consuming but the truth is that the work can be very worthwhile when you make mutually beneficial connections. At such events, one can meet like-minded people whose businesses are at different stages of growth and at the right events you can connect with thought leaders in your industry.
At first glance networking interactions may seem like a waste of time; but from every experience, you can learn something new. You might discover or learn a new business development tip from an event speaker or contact you meet. You may discover a new piece of technology or mobile app as you observe event attendees setting up sales meetings on their phones or instantly adding new contacts to their LinkedIn profiles. Whatever you might learn or whomever you might stumble upon, there are some proven techniques every master net worker must know.
Ninja Networking Secrets
The strategies and techniques below will help you connect effectively with others for business and professional growth.
Before the Event
Prepare yourself by stocking up on business cards;pack your notebook or tablet computer to record important information and pen. If your company has a promotional video be sure to load a mobile-ready version on your phone or tablet. There is nothing more impressive than sharing a professionally produced video about your business from the palm of your hand. To maintain your energy level, ensure that you eat before you leave.
Secondly, try to set specific goals for your interactions. If you want to meet people and gain exposure, there is no better way than to learn about the needs of others and find ways to support them.
If possible exchange business cards. This will help you keep get in touch after the event. Also, ask about the dress code. Confirm whether the event requires business suits or casual attire. Nothing says “look at me, I’m lame” than not looking the part.
During the Event
“To be on time is to be late, to be early is to be on time”. Arrive early enough to prepare to meet your new connections. If someone seems confused put a smile on your face play the role of the greeter and give the person the lay of the land. If you want to meet someone specifically, ask the host to do a brief introduction. During conversation repeat the person’s name to show how you are making an effort to know them. There is no one more important to a person than himself or herself and remembering the person’s name makes your new friend feel valued. Always try to talk less and listen more.
If your company publishes a newsletter and a new contact seems a good fit, ask if they want to receive the publication and add make a note to add them to your mailing list.
After the Event
After the event concludes, ensure that you make follow ups to begin the relationship building process with the friends you just met. You can add a personal touch by sending a hand written “nice to meet you” card.
Apps That Replace Business Cards
Here are some apps for the tech net worker that can help you unlock the potential of your networking efforts.
What’s cooler than bumping phones to exchange contact information? Bump for iPhone allows the quick sharing of photos and contact information. Once you tap your phones together, a vibration indicates that your address book information has been exchanged. This even works with people who do not have the app.
This app efficiently categorizes every interaction made at any time. This helps subscribers keep track of where, how and why they met. Never forget a contact again.
With Card Munch contact details are automatically pulled from business cards you scan into the app. Scanned card information can be added to your contact list and used to create a LinkedIn connection.
To be a successful business owner requires leadership and committing to a strong networking strategy serves as a leadership skills training tool that every would-be mogul can appreciate. Put these tips to use at your next networking event and see your result dramatically improve.
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