Having been awarded the title ‘Networker of the Year’ a couple of times by my peers several years ago I wrote a blog about the art of successful networking. It turned out to be very popular, even more so when I added a list of ‘recommended’ events.
As physical live networking is still probably several months away, I thought maybe it was time to rework it for the online networking arena, especially I have been very successful in securing new clients from this source.
Networking is a great opportunity to meet new contacts and depending upon your line of work it should form a key part of your marketing strategy. However, with so many networking events around, how do you decide where you are going to go to and not go to, and do you know how to make a success of your networking so your time is well spent?
Here are my Top Ten ideas that might help:
1. Will the right people be there?
Understand your target market and where those people are likely to hang out. You may have to kiss a few frogs first. I have stopped ‘going to’ a couple of events because people go just to tick a box to say they have been ‘networking’, without understanding why they are there.
2. Attend consistently
Get known for what you do. Wherever I attend now I get regulars referring people to me particularly around using LinkedIn as a marketing resource and how to sell more effectively.
3. Have an objective
Ask yourself why are you attending a particular event and what you hope to achieve? How can you measure if your being there was successful if you didn’t have an objective in the first place?
4. Have a strategy
Know how to ‘work the room’. This may depend on whether there are breakout rooms or not.
Don’t log on thinking ‘What can I get out of this?’ But instead, to think: ‘What can I offer?’
Ask people they do. Show an interest in them
Help them first – “What’s your biggest challenge right now” or “I am sure if I knew more about your business I think I might be able to refer some business to you”
Always follow up within 48 hours, including sending a LinkedIn connection request ?