Handling Networking Opportunities Like A Boss
Good networking is a key skill for any business owner. It’s going to help you grow your most valuable leads, form alliances with other entrepreneurs, grow the platform of your business, and even rake in the referrals. However, aside from getting out there and meeting people, you need to make sure you’re handling your networking opportunities as effectively as possible. Here are a few tips to help you make the kind of impression that you need.
Bring some value to the table
When you’re talking to a business owner, investor, or a potential lead, it’s always good to think from a perspective of “why would this person want to talk to me?” Find an answer and you can demonstrate the value of knowing you. For leads, this might be easy. With active listening, you can discover more about their wants and provide a potential solution through your business. For other entrepreneurs, you might want to position yourself as a business leader, ensuring that you’re getting inspired insights that can help you demonstrate some authority and reliability, making them more likely to want to partner with you in the future.
Make the right impression
People will form opinions of you within the first minute of meeting you. You can change this opinion, but it will take time and work. As such, it’s wise to work on your introduction and your pitch and to be ready to present yourself and your personal brand. Having a good knowledge of business etiquette, making sure you’re presented appropriately for the occasion, and having a memorable business card design will all help you make that good first impression. If it’s your first meeting with someone, take the time to get to know them, remember them, and ask questions about them. Don’t just launch into talking about what you want from them or what you could possibly do together. That can be a big turn-off.
Don’t forget to follow up
When you’re networking, you shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get into business arrangements, cross-promotions, or to convert new customers. You want to take the time to let it cook, to let them form their impression of you, and develop the kind of trust that can lead to fruitful professional relationships. However, that doesn’t mean you should let them forget you when you say bye, either. Make sure to save any contact information you get with a contact book app or to keep their own business cards close. Then send a follow-up email that either thanks them for their time and encourages further communication or even continues a conversation you had while meeting.
Shaking hands and learning names is all part of the game, but your networking efforts shouldn’t end there. Try to find that value that you can offer those that your forge connections with as well as the value that they can offer you. As such, when you find need a partner, it becomes much easier to see which of your connections might be the right choice.
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