In my last article, we talked about the power of networking. We also covered five reasons why some people do not achieve the results they might want when they attend networking events.
How do you get the very best results from networking?
In this article I will cover seven ways in which you can take your networking to new heights. Many of these tips do not just apply to networking. They can be very useful for all sorts of meetings.
1. Have a great 10-second elevator pitch
When networking, it’s important to be able to attract the interest of the other person straight away. Many people launch into a long and tedious explanation about their company and what they do. Often, when faced with this sort of introduction, a contact becomes bored.
It’s much more effective to focus your introduction into three quick steps:
- The sort of people you work with
- The challenges they face and how you solve them
- What makes you different from the competition
This sort of introduction often starts a more involved conversation about you. For this to happen, however, you need to be talking to the right people. That’s where the second strategy comes in.
2. Research who’s attending
Most networking and similar events will publish a list of who is attending. It can be very worthwhile to request this list in advance. You can target whom you would like to speak to. It also gives you a chance to do some research on them.
You can take this work one step further.
3. Contact people in advance of the events
If there are people you particularly want to meet, it is a good idea to contact them before the event. Tell them that you are both attending the same event and that you would like to meet. This is far more effective than hoping that your paths will cross on the day.
Remember that, even if you do not have their email addresses, it is often possible to contact someone through social media.
Naturally, you cannot plan all your meetings in advance. You will get to meet a lot of people that you do not know. That’s when it is important to apply the next strategy.
4. Qualify the people you are talking to
Not everyone at an event will be of interest to you. Therefore it is important to establish whether you want to take things further early on in the conversation. When you are doing this, remember that you may be interested in your contact’s network as well.
If you are talking to the right person and the conversation is going well, it’s important to think ahead.
5. Set a next step
Make sure you have an action that allows you to take a new relationship forward. Will you be getting in touch with your new contact to set a further meeting? Is there some information that they would like you to send them? Will you be connecting with them on social media?
All these sorts of actions ensure that you keep the momentum of a relationship moving forward. Whatever you decide to do, the next step is vital.
6. Follow up
Make sure you get in touch with a new contact quickly after a networking event. Ideally this should be within 24 hours. There are a number of ways in which you can do this: via social media, with a handwritten note or by email. Use this opportunity to thank your contact for taking the time to speak with you. You can also remind them of any action points that you have agreed and send any information that you have promised.
There is one last thing that many people fail to do when they are networking.
7. Ask for referrals
Remember what we are doing: we are networking. It’s not just about the people you meet, it’s about their contacts as well. It is always a good idea to ask if they know of anyone for whom you could be a useful resource. Would they be prepared to make an introduction? This can be a great way to expand your network rapidly.
Naturally, you should be prepared to do the same for other people. I often offer referrals without being asked. However, I also always make sure that I think the fit will be right for both parties.
You are now all set for some great networking results
If you put all these strategies into action you are sure to make some valuable new contacts.
Good luck with your networking!
If you’d like more ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them.” You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.