You’ve probably heard the old adage when it comes to networking, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” in reference to finding a job. It is also true of business owners and managers as they work to expand their businesses and customer or client base. Networking is so important that it’s a skill that should be honed. Here are seven tips to help you become a more successful networker.
- Have a plan – know why you are networking, so you don’t just wander around aimlessly at events. When you know what you want to get out of networking, you’ll know who to talk to.
- Broaden your horizons – while you may want to focus on meeting potential clients, you never know when the owner of a construction company, insurance agent, hair stylist or plumber may have a referral for you. Never underestimate the importance of making business contacts. This is called Business 2 Business Networking.
- Arrive early – when you arrive before the event gets in full swing, you have more time to talk to people in one-on-one conversations. You’ll be more memorable later on when they are looking for someone with your background.
- Leave your sales pitch at home – networking events are supposed to be light and fun without the heavy sell. Instead of trying to convince others why they should work with you, get to know them and let them get to know you. People are more likely to choose a realtor if they like that person’s character and personality.
- Be the best you – Be yourself, but the best version you can be. If you’re an extrovert who likes to talk, work on your listening skills. If you have an introverted personality, try to come up with questions so you can be part of the conversation.
- Smile – people find others more approachable if they smile. This can be a challenge if the networking event comes at the end of a long day, but the extra effort will be worth it.
- Follow up – remember that these events are where relationships are established, but you have to continue to interact with the person if you want their business or to establish a connection with them.
These are just a few tips that can make networking more fun and successful. Give them a try and watch your list of connections grow.
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