In many cases these days, it’s not so much about what you know as it is about who you know. Strong networking skills are integral to the growth of your career or business and approaching things the right way can help maximize the impact of your interaction and the results you achieve. It doesn’t matter how well you click with someone or how promising building a relationship can be, if you’re easily forgettable, you’re not going to benefit from your meeting. That’s why you need to develop a toolkit that can help you make the most of things. Here are five things all brilliant networkers do to make the best of every interaction:
Leave Your Mark.
Before you even set out to network, you need to get your game plan sorted. Business cards are great for leaving your details but if they’re all you’ve got to offer, you’re not going to leave your mark. Branded corporate gifts can help you stand out from the crowd and also provide an easy way to stay at the front of your prospects’ minds long after the event is over. Choose products that add value to their lives. You’ll find yourself with an easy marketing tool with little effort on your part, as your new connections and their network will subliminally have your brand added to their database if they ever need something you offer.
Know Your Audience.
Before you attend an event, it pays to do your research and establish who you want to talk to and what you want to get out of the interaction. Find things that you have in common to establish rapport on a personal level. If you’re looking to turn them into a quality professional connection, identify how you can help each other in your business ventures and make sure you focus on that, rather than what you want from them, when building your bridge.
Don’t try to sell yourself or your business. Some events aren’t always the best places to push your own agenda or practice your marketing skills. Create actual conversations and genuinely listen to what people are saying to you. People will always be more receptive to a sincere, personal advance than a business pitch and good networking is all about the undertones. Show that you care about the new connection you’ve made and they will notice the effort.
Lastly, don’t let all that hard work you’ve just done go to waste by not reaching out after that fact. A simple “It was great to meet you” or “Just following up on…” can go a long way to solidifying future partnerships. Today, we are more distracted than ever. You want you and your business to stay on your new connection’s mind. Networking can make or break a business but the only way to keep your new relationships is to invest in them.
Successful networking comes down to three things: planning, attention to detail, and following through. The tips in this article are designed to give you a roadmap for the basics but where you go from here is limitless. Use these as your starting point and figure out where you can go from here to keep moving onwards and upwards. Over time you’ll learn what works best for you and from there, you can easily expand your skills and empire. Happy networking!