It is a fact that most business professionals prefer a face to face meeting. Hubsot found that nearly 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. But how many people can you realistically meet face to face in a week? Even speed networking events you may meet a couple dozen at the most. That’s where technology tries to fill the gap, the ability to meet more people and filter through networks more efficiently. It is the age of information and there are websites and apps just waiting for us to utilize in our networking. Here is a list of networking apps to help you along. Seventy-two percent of people say their impressions are impacted by how someone appears and their handshake so face to face networking isn’t going away soon, but these apps will help give you access to a wider networking base.
Great, you are all fired up to do some networking but you don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, Networking can be done anywhere. Standing in line at the store (don’t be annoying about it), waiting for your car at the lube shop (they are bored as well, start a conversation) and anywhere else there is a gathering of people. In these situations, the way to network without becoming annoying is to focus on the other person and not on your own needs. Most people will talk about their work and the company they own or work for. Don’t push sales in these situations and be very reluctant to push solutions. This is about meeting people and adding to your network. Here is a list of 10 more places to network to get you started. Remember, this is the tip of the iceberg. Anywhere people gather, even in small numbers, is a networking opportunity.
You only have one chance to make a first impression and that impression is formed in the first seven seconds. That’s why when you’re networking you shouldn’t leave your introduction to chance, it should be a tightly scripted and carefully cultivated statement about you and your business. Included is a handy guide to building your introduction that helps bring those impressions around in your favor and start generating more leads and more business. Here are a few more tips to make these introductions shine.
- Use power questions when you can. A power question hits on a pain point you are trying to solve with your business “Do you struggle with your social media marketing?”
- Finish with a call to action. This lets the potential customer know what they need to do next to get the solutions you are offering. “Here is the link to download our handy guide to Social Media greatness.”
- Practice until you remember, then practice until you can’t forget. Sometimes you get distracted or nervous when networking. Practicing until you can’t forget is the key to overcoming this. Practice out loud and exactly the tone and tempo you intend to use.
Everyone knows that one person who is super valuable to them in the business world, their most valuable resource (MVR). They seem to know everyone and can get you connected with anything if you ask. Here’s the secret, they aren’t naturally connected to everyone, they worked at it. But how do you build a network from nothing? By giving and not keeping score. If you make a commitment to giving out one good lead every day your network will grow and become a powerful force in your life. It will move with you from one job or business venture to the next and from one phase of life to the next. Give out good leads and you will get good leads. People like to reciprocate when they get something valuable from you. Maybe not everyone will send you leads but with time enough people will send business your way you may have to slow down your marketing or expand your business, and that’s a problem we all would like to deal with.
Here is a handy infographic discussing what is a good lead to pass off to your networking contacts.
For those who interact with me personally, it will come as no surprise that 90% of my business comes from networking. I attend as many networking events as I can, I meet as many people as possible and I collect a lot of information about who they are and what they do which I then pass along to other networking contacts. This week we will be talking about networking again because I believe it is one of the most useful skills you can have as a business owner and one of the easiest things you can do to get more business. Every day we will talk about one aspect of networking as well as practical tips to becoming a master networker. Remeber the saying “It isn’t who you are, it’s who you know”. Make networking a habit. Your bonus tip for today is to devote 5 minutes every day to building your network and see how it grows.
Getting the introduction right during the first few seconds is important. This is when you are establishing yourself and setting the expectation for the rest of the conversation. Here are some tips on nailing the into during the first 30 seconds.
Networking used to be all about the face to face meeting but oh how times have changed. While the in person networking is still the optimal way to go, technology has opened up new ways to network. Here is a list of my top 5 networking apps (find me on all of them if you like).
I can never stress the importance of networking enough so here comes another week full of tips and training. If you need some one-on-one coaching on this topic make sure to reach out. Your tip for today is to ask questions. Ask at least 3-4 questions for every bit of information you give out. “I help small businesses with their social media” What do you do?” What is your ideal client?” “What can I do today to help your business?” Networking is more about giving than receiving.
Networking is definitely an investment. You need to put the effort in to get the results out later. However, unlike money, it is not a zero sum game. Multiple people can pull out more than they put in if they invested wisely. Make sure you deposit all you are able to and you will get better results. Don’t keep score, just keep helping and it will all turn out in your favor.
The Golden Rule of Networking: Don’t Keep Score. Great advice and the only way to approach networking events. If you worry about who owes you then you don’t get the point of networking. If you approach networking with a service attitude you will get more out of it. Relax, have fun, help out your fellow humans. It will increase your networking capital more than keeping score.