By Lynette Barbieri ~
Networking is a proactive approach to meeting people with the intention of getting to know them and building relationships and potentially helping one another. Most people are profoundly uneasy with the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation. I’ll tell you from personal experience that you will absolutely make more money, be more successful and experience stronger ROI the more you network.
I love to talk about networking because networking was the key for me to developing a successful business. I don’t know how many people realize that there is truly an art to networking. Just like any skill, there is a skill to making connections, if you are doing it to truly build your business. Networking connects two people, the giver, and the receiver. The connection can lead to the beginning of a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. It may take two to three years to see real business from networking contacts,” she said. If you’re sincere and dedicated to cultivating this skill, you’ll be the first person they think of when they need promo items or services.
Here are 10 tips to help you to truly Network Like a Boss:
- Networking is simply marketing – It is marketing of yourself and your uniqueness. Connectors are people with a knack for making friends and acquaintances.
- Have an outcome in mind –What do you want to get out of this event. Is it social, are you going there to learn something or connect with someone you have synergy with? What type of business connections are you looking for? What industry may fit best with yours? Who are your best referral sources?
- Be relatable – To be successful at networking, you must be able to relate to all people. It does not matter how much success you have or have not experienced. Focus on trying to get your contact to connect with your personality. People relate to people who are more like them. In order to do business with anyone, the people you are meeting have to get to know you in order to like and trust you
- Join a group – Avoid networking cocktail parties, unless you are looking for more of a social event and you don’t care about getting business long-term. If you are serious about growing your network and building your business joining a group of like-minded women that you can build real relationships with is what you need to be a part of. Ask people you trust what groups they belong to and get recommendations and try them out until you find the right one.
- Be a Great Listener –A true conversationalist is not that you are a good talker and that you talk a lot, it’s how much you can get them to talk and how good of a listener you are. Listen to what someone is saying, rather than standing there thinking about what you are going to say next.
- Be an excellent schmoozer –Schmoozing done right is a great way to establish new contacts. You will need to figure out a way to introduce yourself into a conversation without being pushy or prying. Be polite and wait until the person is done talking.
- Master the art of conversation –Keep your conversations light and cordial. The first time you are meeting someone isn’t the time to engage in serious business-related conversation. Try to find commonality. Learn to talk about a wide variety of topics so you can connect with more people.
- Give from your heart – Nothing is more liberating and rewarding than the desire to Help and the desire to serve. When you meet someone and you can refer them business and serve them in some way, even if they can’t use your services, do it with no expectations.
- Ask questions –Learning as much as you can about someone in a short period of time will help you to develop a fast connection. It will also help you in your follow-up. When you call to set up a time to meet, and you feedback a few things you remember about them in your first conversation. it makes them feel special. They will also be impressed that you were listening.
- Remember to follow-up – Making the connections and building rapport was step one. The success is the follow-up. Let them know you will be calling in a day or two to set up a time to meet for coffee to talk more about how you could work together and learn more about their business. If you don’t follow-up you wasted a night out, so keep their information safe and call within 24 to 48 hours to reconnect.
Ultimately, networking could be the biggest thing that helps you to build a solid successful business if you do it right. It is o.k. to be a part of two maybe even three groups, my feeling is spreading yourself too thin is detrimental. It is o.k. to go to other events when the right opportunity arises, but to join more than two or three, in my opinion, is too many.
You can make more connections in two months by becoming interested in them, then you can in two years of trying to get other people interested in you. A great networker is never greedy, they happily look to help other business owners out without any expectations. Remember to always be authentic, smile, be upbeat and make people want to be around you. Networking and making connections with the goal of building long-term relationships takes an investment of your time, sincerity, and teamwork. Do it right, be patient and have a blast!