5 Great Tips For Business Networking
Today I have invited professional coach and trainer, Jill Simpson, from DEVA Training in Kilmarnock, to share her 5TopTips on business networking. Watch the video or keep reading for Jill's insight into how to make networking more enjoyable and effective.
If you are a networking newbie and not a natural extrovert then the prospect of walking into a room full of strangers is likely to be a daunting and intimidating prospect. But like most new experiences, once you get started you will probably relax and enjoy yourself. Just forcing yourself to do it is the major issue. To effectively get over that barrier it helps to be prepared so keep reading and you should pick up enough to not only enjoy networking but also make it effective for your business. For more networking tips check out my post featuring Janet Torley from Events for Business. Looking for books on business networking? These Amazon links may help, otherwise keep reading.
No one goes networking just for the fun of it, there is a reason for going and that reason is likely to be that your business needs to benefit financially from the time and money you are putting into networking. So first up, don't waste the opportunity by hiding in a corner, only talking to people you already know or sticking like glue to just one person. Make a conscious effort to circulate because the more people you meet the greater your chance of establishing new and useful business relationships.
Now if you have never attended a networking event before do not be fooled by relaxed atmosphere and be tempted to regard event as a party where you can let your hair down. Remember you are representing your company and first impressions do count! Be friendly but professional.
Many networking events will provide a guest list in advance so go through it and identify anyone you would like to meet and if necessary ask the organiser to introduce you to that person. Although you never know who might recommend you in the future you might as well go for the low hanging fruit in the meantime and target the people you think it will be beneficial to know.
A mistake networking newbies sometime make is they think they are there to sell – DON’T! That might be your ultimate goal but you are there to make new contacts and build relationships. The more you understand the business needs of your new contacts the better placed you will be to solve their problems with your product or service. Show a genuine interest in the people you meet and listen to them, you will win their appreciation and trust. No one likes a pushy sales person so ease off and start identifying opportunities for building new business relationships.
You might think that you want to collect everyone’s business card, and if you are at a speed networking event you probably will (minus the ones who have come without their business cards, there’s always one), however you are likely to be wasting your time. Only the collect business cards of people you know you would like to talk to again and then be sure and add them to your database. After the event follow-up, invite them for coffee or send information that might be interesting to them. Good relationships take time and effort, and that’s also true of business relationships.
Please note this blog contains Amazon affiliate links.