You’ve got to network with the right group of people, who can help grow your business. Once you've selected the right groups to network with, you've got to make the most of your time.
Now that you’ve decided on the organizations you will network with, let’s talk about how to best leverage these powerful new connections. Be honest about your skill set. You have got to bring it when you’re out there networking. Better be prepared.
Consistently work on improving your skill set and at the same time get out there to further new relationships:
- Actively listen to your network by being more emotionally intelligent.
- Measure up. Understand who is your audience and what moves them.
- Follow the money. Assess the relationship’s potential for success. Will this connection lead to new leads or help you achieve your business goals? If not, move on! And be polite. You never know if that relationship may one day turn into a big payday.
- Nurture the relationship. How can you help them with their business or on a personal level?
- Prioritize. Determine which relationships have the potential to yield more business. Spend more time with those who will bring in the most business. Reciprocal relationships tend to the most profitable. Continuously look for new ways look for ways to further existing relationships that make money.
“There is nothing better than face-to-face networking. Having said that, integrating social media networking into your game plan, helps save time and can make meetings so much more successful,” said Shari Davidson. LinkedIn is a great digital channel to research and connect with other professionals.
- Establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field and create credibility as a leader in the category, by regularly blogging.
- Research new business prospects and your competition.
- Follow companies and industry leaders.
- Join powerful LinkedIn groups and start nurturing new relationships.
Mind Your Manners
Think about what you’re saying. Never post anything that you cannot defend or that may be potentially damaging to your reputation. And don’t just post about things that no one gives a hoot about.
Substance and style. Less is typically more. On or off-line, carefully craft and curate your content. It’s not how much you post or share. It’s all about creating a substantive conversation with your core stakeholders. Be smart, savvy and strategic about what you say and who you talk to.
Actions speak louder than words.
There are ways that things get done, and there are simply things one should never say or do.
Know the do’s and don’ts . . .
- Arrive on time.
- Dress appropriately.
- While networking never eat or drink alone and don’t order before your guest arrives.
- Provide your mobile phone to keep in contact leading up to meet-ups.
- Remember to thank people for taking the time, for offering their insights and for returning your phone calls.
- Never “slam” your competitors, instead keep the conversation positive and focused on furthering the relationship.
- Let them do the talking, listen and thoughtfully contribute to the conversation. Less is more.
And never, never, never, have more than two drinks. Many professionals don’t drink at all. Eat before you go to a party or networking event. Most of the time the food is either detrimental to your diet plan, or you’ll be spending precious time waiting to get some food.
Make the most of your time and start building that powerful network that will bring in more business. Make it rain!