When you think of networking, what comes to your mind?
According to Business Dictionary, networking is, “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not with “What can I get?”
Networking is an important factor for greatness. You not only need financial resources; you need people capital.
Networking is something you have to work at and practice very often. Don’t be afraid to network; just think of it as how you can help others, not the other way round.
Networking is one of the most important business skills every entrepreneur needs to learn.
Here are 10 ways to crush it at networking:
You already have some contacts; tap into them: Sometimes we think we don’t have anyone to network with, this isn’t true. If you take a look at your contacts, you would see that you have a lot of people you can connect with and network with them.
Keep your network up-to-date: Contact them as often as you can and keep your relationship fresh. If you don’t nurture your relationship, the relationships won’t grow. No one likes it when you contact them only when you need something; most people would feel used.
Always have an elevator pitch handy: Think of your elevator pitch like a sales pitch that tells your target audience who you are and the value you bring to the table. Before going to any networking event, you should have an elevator pitch and practice it thoroughly.
What value are you offering? Don’t just tell people how you have achieved so so and so or the University you attended; make them understand the value you offer and how you can be of immense help to them and their business. People simply love value.
Focus on the conversation: Don’t only talk about yourself, listen to what the other person has to say as well! Networking is a two-way street; make sure to learn as much as you can about the other person as well. Build a proper conversation.
Always go with a business card: Don’t forget to make use of the back of your business cards. A business card keeps you in mind of your potential customers. It also shows how serious you are about your business and brand. Do you have a business card?
It’s not about the number of business cards you collect, it’s about the number of connections you make. Build relationships rather than contacts. Make sure you establish a form of connection with someone before accumulating their business cards.
Remember your non-verbal cues: Non-verbal cues are as important as verbal cues. They help to amplify exactly what you are saying. If you are not very cautious about them; they can be misunderstood.
Follow up: There is no point in networking with someone if you won’t follow up. Follow-up is key in networking and it makes a difference between a lasting business relationship and otherwise.
Introduce your contacts to new people: Networking is like a chain of contacts; don’t just meet someone and stop there, introduce that person to someone else.