Networking is important. It helps you build business relationships. It helps you make sales. And it creates connections with people that can play a big role in your success.
I know, I know. Business networking isn’t ‘easy’…
- Networking does take time.
- You have to be proactive and talk to people.
- You don’t get ‘paid’ for your time.
To be great at networking you need 3 things:
1. A Plan – decide which events you will attend, make a note of when they will be and be sure to register if registration is required.
2. Your Pitch – heard the term “elevator pitch” before? This is where you use it the most. You need to distil the essence of what you do, what makes you memorable and what you stand for into a 20 or 30 second pitch. When people ask you, “What do you do?” You must be prepared with a response.
3. Motivation – this one might seem out of place. However, the reality is, if you’re not motivated and determined to attend networking events and go up to meet new people, networking will never WORK for you.
Making sure your pitch is on point
Let’s talk about #2 for a minute. If you’ve told people what you do, how can you know whether or not your pitch is on point?
This is the beauty of networking. Every time you meet someone new you can try a different pitch. What their eyes, their reaction. is it confused? Positive or negative?
You will quickly find out which pitch and angle gets the best results. Which one gets people responding with “that’s really cool” or “wow, so interesting” or “oh, I could really use your services.” The last one being the ultimate compliment =)
Hold the hard sell
If you’re planning on attending a networking event, striding through the door and hitting up every person you see with aggressive sales talk – don’t. That approach doesn’t work. It turns people off and does nothing to help you build a relationship with people.
Build, focus, don’t attack
Instead of coming off too strong, the approach you want is to come across as friendly, more interested in the person you are meeting than yourself. You should look for ways that you can help the person you meet – and not expect them to help you back. This attitude shines through and makes you seem like the kind of humble and confident person that others want to be around. This is what helps you build long-lasting and valuable relationships.
Too many people at networking events run around like chickens sans head. When they talk with you their eyes are darting all over the room watching others. That’s not only rude it’s a disastrous way to start a relationship. Be genuine and focus on one person at a time.
Take your networking to the next level
If you can find a way to get involved in the event that you’re attending as opposed to just ‘attending’ you’ll meet more of the ‘big fish’ and the influencers. This is also how you start to be known as an insider and authority.