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10 Top Tips for Networking Success

10 Top Tips for Networking Success
  1. Just do it! Even when you think you don’t need it, or wonder if it’s worth it, networking is part of an integrated marketing strategy.  It requires planning, consistency and patience.  Every single connection you make may provide mutual insight, innovation, and growth.
  2. Budget the time and financial investment as part of your marketing planning. Include the potential lost opportunity costs of spending time on social media, at social events, or making phone calls versus engaging in effective face-to-face connection.
  3. Track and measure opportunities and results. Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool or spreadsheet to track who you meet where, and details that will help you stay in touch, exchange value, and measure results.
  4. Listen and learn all you can about the people you meet, and engage appropriately in the different types of social, digital and live networking.
    1. Connection-Making: Places and events, both digital and live, where you are likely to meet people for the first time. Discover new opportunities and share yours with an effective value introduction for your products and services. See 5 & 6 below.
    2. Relationship-Building: Regular meetings of your teams, members, colleagues, referral and volunteer groups and individual digital exchanges or one-on-one meetings where you get to know people better. Listen, ask leading questions, find common ground, be helpful and collaborative, and work to build trust and friendship.
    3. Referral Networking: Share your connections and resources with others who need them whenever you can.  No need to endorse, just help people connect to people and resources in your network (only information that is public or appropriate).  They can discover their shared interests and build on the relationship if it makes sense to them.
  5. Prepare clear, concise introductions that relay your unique solution in a way that connects with the pains or desires your market has are critical for your business. Craft several value introductions, and if you have more than one ‘I’ or ‘We’ in them, rewrite them. Here’s a how-to and example: http://linksharegrow.com/Resources/CraftingYour30SecondIntro.pdf
  6. Practice. You didn’t get to be exceptional at what you do without practice. Why would you want to be less than exceptional at anything you do?  Networking takes practice.
  7. Exit your comfort zone and regularly attend connection-making events where you won’t know everyone in order to expand and revitalize your network. You are more valuable to your organizations and referral partners when you are growing (Gaining Rewards, Opportunities and Well-being!).
  8. Make it easy for people to learn about and connect with you. Fill out your social profiles completely, and keep your web sites, blogs and resume up to date with easy calls to action.  Your business card isn’t enough.  People you meet who might want to further the relationship will want more information.  What will they find?
  9. Be consistent everywhere you are seen. Reinforce your message in all of your marketing and advertising.  Help people understand what you do in terms of what’s in it for them or people they know, to know, like, and trust you, and to exchange value with you.
  10. Follow up! Call, email, mail, follow through with what you discuss, schedule time to meet, or just say thanks, it was nice to meet you! Share news, ideas, knowledge, connections, and any resources that make sense.  Every impression matters.  Make them all count by making a habit of staying in touch and providing value whenever, wherever, and however you can.

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